Home Safety Tips for the Elderly

Good article below by John Voket from Top 5 in Real Estate Network about ways to make a home safe for aging individuals.

Aging in Place Primer: In Home Safety

By John Voket
I recently referenced reporting by Nell Bernstein at caring.com, who pointed out two important factors about planning for aging in place. Bernstein says the steps to successful aging in place include learning how to “future-proof” a home — before a health crisis or other emergency strikes.

The first is in-home safety. Bernstein references a a worry-by-worry guide to several innovations — some tested and recommended by Susan Ayers Walker of SmartSilvers Alliance.

Solution No. 1: Big-button cell phone. According to the Pew Research Center, many seniors won’t use a cell phone even in an emergency. They find them too complex, can’t manage the tiny buttons, or read the screens. So choose a phone with features like extra-loud speakers, big backlit buttons, a bright screen with easy-to-read numbers.

Solution No. 2: Automatic pill reminders. A 70 year old, says Walker, could be taking about 12 medications, and taking them unsupervised accounts for up to 40 percent of nursing home admissions. So consider pillboxes with alarms tied to services that will send medication reminders by phone, e-mail, or pager. MD.2 is a monitored dispenser can dispense all your pills right on time, with one touch of a button. Rescue Alert will monitor a pillbox electronically and alert a dispatcher if the lid isn’t opened when it’s supposed to be.

Solution No. 3: Temperature-activated flow reducer. It’s relatively low-tech and can cost less than $40, but this gadget sure does work (search for it online using the key words temperature-activated flow reducer). A screw-on faucet attachment prevents burns by shutting off the water from a sink or shower if it gets too hot.

Solution No. 4: The Safe-T-element Cooking System. This device consists of cover plates you can install over existing stove top burners that limit how hot they can get and automatically shut off the stove if they reach a certain temperature. Prices vary.