Keeping seniors at home and safe requires some thought

Posted on February 18, 2013


Making the home senior friendly is important for the safety of all the residents of the home.

Making the home senior friendly is important for the safety of all the residents of the home.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could push a button and make the home safe for the age of the residents?  Unfortunately, that isn’t possible which means that we need to be proactive.

I remember seeing the burned notices on the side of my grandmother’s refrigerator that faced the stove.  She had left something on the burner and there had been a grease fire.  Fortunately, it had been caught in time and the burned news articles and the melted magnets that held them onto the refrigerator were all that remained to remind us of the incident.

An article in the New York Times discusses the issue of in-home safety and senior citizens – our parents, aunts and uncles, even brothers and sisters.  This is issue that will become more prevalent as the senior population continues to grow: in-home safety. In recent years, technology has addressed this issue with products like motion censors that can alert 911 of a fall, special jewelry containing a button that, when pushed, can send for emergency personnel and clothing with built-in monitors that can detect accidents even outside of the home. But are these the only ways to ensure safety in the home? While they are helpful, not necessarily. Are these products safe? Probably. Affordable?  Some are and some are not.

A lot of our elders are coping with at least one of the following conditions, and many are dealing with two or more of the following:

  • Heart conditions (hypertension, vascular disease, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease)
  • Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease
  • Depression
  • Incontinence (urine and stool)
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes
  • Breathing problems
  • Frequent falls, which can lead to fractures
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Eye problems (cataracts, glaucoma, Macular Degeneration)

Each of these or combinations of these may necessitate special care to be taken around the senior’s home to enable them to successfully reside there and for any in-home care to be successful.  Some diagnosis require special planning to ensure a safe environment, for example, we have compiled recommendations for keeping a home with a dementia patient safe.

There is hope in the form of some great resources for seniors, their families and caregivers, including an interactive home safety checklist created with the National Association of Homebuilders on the AARP’s Web site.

BrightStar in-home care is a care solution that can help seniors satisfy their preference to stay in their home, but not all in-home care is the same.  Did you know you can augment care in medical facilities?  We work with families to provide the best in care for the elderly at home, in nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities and hospitals.  Our caregivers can move from home to facility and back again, providing the continuity of care.

We also care for kids and adults who need anything from companion care to skilled nursing care.

If you need help paying for in-home care for a senior give BrightStar in Houston a call at 832-730-1255.  We may have ideas you may not have thought of and resources to consider.  Get more ideas on care giving at Caregiver Junction.

If one of the care recipients is a veteran or the spouse of a veteran check out our series on Veterans Benefits for those over 65:

Monetary assistance with in-home care for veterans

VA benefits for veterans over 65: Basic Pension

VA benefits for veterans over the age of 65: Housebound Pension and Aid and Attendance Pension

Providing care for an aging senior in their home is a job that normally grows over time.  Gather information now and know where to turn to get help when you need it.  You can bet on needing it sooner than you think and you will be  happy you were prepared.