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. In fact, 65 percent of senior homes have at least one potential safety issue, according to adult children of seniors surveyed by Home Instead Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network. 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. However, 85 percent of 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 Brandi Johnson of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving the Victor Valley. “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 Victorville, Apple Valley and Hesperia 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 Johnson. “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’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 760-843-5655.