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5 Home Safety Tips For Seniors

Published 04/23/2020 by General Security

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Aging safely is a natural concern for many seniors, many of whom still want to live independently. It’s also on the minds of family members and caregivers charged with ensuring their well-being. According to post-acute nursing and assisted living facility provider CareOne: “Seniors are involved in more than 2.3 million accidents in their homes each year.” 

This becomes more alarming as the aging population increases, with many living on their own. According to the American Psychological Association, as cited on local resource guide Senior Directory: “12 million Americans over the age of 65 currently live alone. That number is expected to increase to at least 13.4 million by 2035.”

Avoiding slips and falls, break-ins, and other accidents is just as important as implementing wellness measures. These can be remedied through tech components facilitating open communication, accident avoidance, and daily living management.

Here are some top safety tips regarding common hazards faced by seniors, along with useful data about technology that can help keep elder family members safe:

 

1. Eliminate Slip & Fall Risks

This is one of the most common home safety hazards. According to CareOne: “Approximately 7,000 adults 65 and older die in such accidents annually. Falls are the number one safety risk for older adults—nearly one-third of the senior population falls each year with 70% of falls occurring at home.”

Check your loved one’s home for inadvertent hazardous items. These include rugs, doormats, loose carpeting or floorboards, and other obstructions, such as furniture or clutter. 

Seniors’ mobility decreases with aging; they can easily trip and fall on even the slightest obstacle. According to senior living provider Home Care Assistance, this could be something that’s “just one-eighth-inch thick.”


TECH ADVICE

Remove the aforementioned hazards. Adding accompanying technologies, such as motion-sensor lighting and smart technologies can also help. This includes Amazon Alexa or Google Home to facilitate commands, such as turn lights on or off at a certain time. 

Smart home automation provides remote, mobile settings. Peek in on loved ones to ensure a light is turned on. If not, set it yourself. 

Consider providing your elderly loved one a medical pendant with fall detection. This is placed around the neck with a panic button they can press for assistance. The fall detection component automatically sends a signal alerting the security company, even if the button is out of reach. 

 

2. Check Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

These must be in working order. According to a January 2019 report titled “Smoke Alarms in the U.S. Home Fires,” issued by the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA): “Almost three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (40%) or no smoke alarms that were working (17%).”

“In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, more than two of every five (43%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries,” it adds.

This also pertains to carbon monoxide detectors. Protection against this odorless gas is paramount, since it can unknowingly cause your elderly loved one to become ill, or prove fatal.

Installing a proper smoke and carbon monoxide detector  is a two-fold process. Testing and maintenance are also important factors. Smoke alarms “should be tested at least once per month and replaced about every 10 years,” according to the NFPA. 

TECH ADVICE

Hearing-impaired individuals can request special alarms featuring strobe lights and bed shaker alerts instead of the usual beeping sounds.

A provider such as General Security offers alarm monitoring to remotely alert you and your loved ones of smoke or carbon monoxide. This also connects automatically to emergency services responders. 

Check your loved one’s home for inadvertent hazardous items. These include rugs, doormats, loose carpeting or floorboards, and other obstructions, such as furniture or clutter.


3. Secure Windows & Doors

Checking windows and doors is a security and wellness measure. For elders, especially those who live alone, the threat of a break-in is more prevalent. 

According to The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI),  a trade organization of residential and commercial property inspectors, “burglars enter homes through the following locations: 

  • 81% enter through the first floor;
  • 34% of burglars enter through the front door;
  • 23% enter through a first-floor window.”

It’s important these areas are secure and have added protection, such as security screens, working window and door locks, and glass break sensors. 

Consider quick-release safety bars for windows and outer storm doors for secondary protection. It’s also wise to install security cameras to monitor windows and doors.  


TECH ADVICE

Smart Locks

Remembering to lock windows and doors can be challenging for elderly loved ones. Installing smart locks can grant peace of mind through a secret code programmed through the Alarm.com app. 

Smart locks can be remotely controlled with smart home automation. Set specific times for doors to lock and unlock, so your loved ones remain safe while home or out.

 

Glass Break Sensors

Also known as glass detectors, these sense and alert if a glass window and/or door is compromised. They’re triggered by noise or shattered glass vibrations. 

4. Perform Regular Check-Ins

Wellness and healthy living are critical for elderly loved ones. Knowing they’re adhering to a specific routine and schedule provides added peace of mind. This is even more critical with novel coronavirus (COVID-19) stay-at-home and quarantine measures.

Consider adding wellness protective measures if your loved one is experiencing at least one of the below-mentioned scenarios:

  • They’d like to live independently knowing someone is looking out for their safety and well- being.
  • They want to frequently stay in touch with friends and relatives.
  • They recently experienced a physical or mental setback requiring extra monitoring. 
  • You want to know they’re staying active and healthy—even when you can’t be there. 

TECH ADVICE

Security Cameras

Implementing indoor, outdoor, and doorbell cameras is a key piece of the solution. These can screen visitors, prevent break-ins and thefts, and monitor daily living and critical events. 

The Alarm.com app can remotely monitor activities and facilitate check-ins from you or your loved one’s mobile device. You’ll also receive real-time alerts should anything suspicious occur. Any emergency situations will directly connect to local law enforcement and first responders. 

 

Wellness & Wellcam

Alarm.com Wellness is a step above the usual Personal Emergency Response Pendants. 

Using real-time sensor data and algorithms to identify regular activity patterns, Wellness recognizes unusual activities that could lead to emergency events. 

Monitoring includes, but isn’t limited to:

  • Maintaining Healthy Eating Habits
  • Medication Adherence
  • Sleep Patterns/Sleeplessness
  • Getting Up/Wandering Off the Property
  • Too Many/Not Enough Bathroom Trips
  • Nighttime Slips & Falls

One specific use case is checking on your loved one's nutrition and medication adherence. Sensors placed on kitchen cabinets, refrigerators doors, and bathroom medicine cabinets detect and monitor how often they're opened. This provides added reassurance of regularly scheduled meals and medication times.

Another measure to consider is a Wellcam smart video solution. This two-way audio and video camera can be easily integrated for additional communication with family members and emergency contacts—especially important with current COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. 

The device can be placed anywhere throughout a loved one’s home, such as the living room, bedrooms, or kitchen area. Its 180-degree field-of-view camera with 1080p resolution and 6mp zoom monitors an entire space, and its two-way video and audio call option provides direct connection.

The camera’s Bluetooth speaker can also be used for entertainment purposes, such as music and podcasts.

Additional quality-of-life measures include a daily summary of activity highlights for consistency and unusual behaviors.

 

5. Utilize Energy & Appliance Management

Worst-case scenarios include leaving a stove or oven on, faucets running, or abnormal heating and cooling settings. This is especially concerning if your loved one suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.


To avoid burns from appliances or scalding hot water, it’s best to implement a smart home automation process. This includes automatic appliance shutoff, and water temperature settings and shutdown. 

Heating and cooling temperatures can also be managed with specific time-of-day settings. 

 

TECH ADVICE

Appliance Automation

Control appliances, water settings, and temperatures through the Alarm.com app. 


Smart Thermostats

Remotely adjust heating and cooling based on real-time weather conditions, and receive notifications should home temperatures increase or decrease above certain levels.


Staying Safe & Sound

 When reviewing the aforementioned safety and accompanying technology tips, it’s best to work with a security services provider that understands your loved one’s unique situation. They can craft a solution promoting  24/7 peace of mind and open communication.

 


 To learn more about these helpful tips, download our free home safety checklist or call us. We’re happy to answer all your questions and schedule a contactless appointment.


Request a Quote with General Security

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