Uncovering the Hidden Dangers in Aging Loved Ones’ Homes

Home Instead Senior Care
Home Instead Senior Care
Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 03:51 PM.

June is National Home Safety Month, and local senior care experts are encouraging adult children to add a simple, yet important duty to their list of summer chores:  Conduct a “look and see” inspection of their parent’s home

“Many seniors and their families don’t think about the fact that homes must adapt to the changing needs of seniors as they age until an accident happens,” said Angie Berry, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving the Wiregrass Area including Henry, Houston, Dale, Coffee, Barbour and Genevia counties.

“There are many potential hazards that could force seniors to lose their independence.  Important safety areas to highlight in a senior’s home run the gamut from accessibility to lighting to trip and fall hazards.  A lack of attention to those details can jeopardize an older adult’s ability to remain at home,” Berry said.

Many home safety improvements are simple and inexpensive, experts say.  Convincing seniors, on the other hand, is another story.  Danise Levine, assistant director of the IDEA Center at the SUNY (State University of New York) Buffalo School of Architecture, said that denial often comes into play with seniors.

“We see a lot of seniors who don’t want to admit they’re getting older so they don’t want to make changes in their homes,” Levine said.  “Secondly, consumer education is an issue.  If older adults do need help they often don’t know where to go or how much things cost.”

Berry said it’s important to identify various safety pitfalls from poor lighting to the need for adaptive devices in a home.  While many fixes are simple and inexpensive, others might involve a remodeling project to help a senior remain at home.

“That first, important step is to make an objective assessment of what needs to be done to keep them at home,” Berry said.  “It’s one of the most important services that Home Instead Senior Care provides.”

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