North Central News

Making the home safer for seniors

June is National Safety Month, a great time for families to check their aging loved one’s home for potential hazards that could threaten their independence.

For seniors, little things can cause big risks in the home, such as floor mats and small rugs, or larger rugs with frayed or upturned corners, which pose serious tripping hazards—especially for those using walkers, canes or other mobility assistance (submitted photo).

For seniors, little things can cause big risks in the home, such as floor mats and small rugs, or larger rugs with frayed or upturned corners, which pose serious tripping hazards—especially for those using walkers, canes or other mobility assistance (submitted photo).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20 million seniors ages 65 and older visit the emergency room each year with almost a third of the visits related to injuries, many of which are sustained in the place seniors are meant to feel the safest: their home. However, almost half of all home accidents by seniors (48 percent) can be avoided, according to a recent survey of emergency room doctors.

These preventable home hazards, such as throw rugs or loose railings, can be particularly harmful, leading to falls and injuries that can impact seniors’ ability to live independently. Many seniors haven’t taken any steps to prepare their homes for their changing needs as they grow older.

“The home should be the safest and most comfortable place for aging seniors,” says Jason Nash, president of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Greater Phoenix. “It is critical for families and seniors to invest the time in identifying the necessary home safety modifications to ensure it stays that way.”

Senior home safety experts recommend that adult children of seniors take at least one day each year to perform a thorough safety check of their parents’ home. To help families accomplish this goal and help seniors reduce the risk of injury in their own homes, the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Greater Phoenix is offering free home safety checks conducted by local senior care experts throughout June. The safety checks will be provided at no cost on a time-available basis.

“An annual safety check can help seniors avoid dangers that could threaten their independence,” said Nash. “When we go into homes, we see a lot of red flags that are easily overlooked by those who are familiar with the home. Most of the time, these are relatively easy and affordable fixes—and they could be the difference between a trip to the emergency room and staying safe at home.”

The most common issues found in seniors’ homes are tripping hazards, bathrooms without assistive equipment, such as grab bars on the shower or tub, and storage that’s too high or too low.

A free home safety checklist, online safety assessment and recommendations for inexpensive modifications that could ensure the safety of older loved ones are also available at www.makinghomesaferforseniors.com. These free safety checks and support resources are part of Home Instead Inc.’s broader Making Home Safer for Seniors program.

To request a free home safety check or the home safety checklist, call the local Home Instead Senior Care office at 602-588-7725.

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