Many seniors are choosing to age in place, enjoying independence well into their golden years. Just because a senior is physically healthy enough to live alone, however, does not mean that he or she is immune to common senior safety concerns. Here are four safety tips from leading New Hampshire elderly care professionals for independent seniors to keep them safe, healthy, and secure in all facets of their lives.
1. Be vigilant about identity protection.
Seniors are among the most vulnerable targets for identity theft and fraud. Would-be thieves often pose as Medicare or Social Security officials as a means of gaining access to confidential personal information. It is wise for seniors to monitor credit on a regular basis to ensure that no one is using their identities to open new lines of credit or make unauthorized purchases. Likewise, seniors should monitor correspondence from Medicare and Social Security officials to prevent fraud in connection with those benefits. As a practical matter, seniors should avoid giving out any personal information over the phone or to anyone who knocks on their door, and they should share Medicare information only with their authorized medical providers.
2. Secure the home for day-to-day safety.
For seniors living alone, a few simple steps can go a long way in making the home an accident-free zone. Motion sensors and lights—both indoor and outdoor—improve visibility and act as deterrents against invaders. For seniors with mobility limitations, sturdy handrails both in hallways and bathrooms and no-slip surfaces throughout the home are critical. Even small actions such as clearing walkways of cords or other obstacles can help prevent slips and falls.
3. Have emergency plans in place.
In addition to daily safety concerns, seniors should also be prepared in case of emergency. Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are necessities in case of fire or gas leak. It is also important to keep a functional fire extinguisher on hand in case of small kitchen fires, and it may be a good idea to install auto-off switches on any appliances that pose a fire hazard. Finally, pack an emergency kit, including things like non-perishable food items, flashlights, a radio, and first aid supplies.
4. Create a support network.
While some seniors are less likely to use mobile phones, carrying a mobile phone while running errands and taking walks is an important safety measure. Consider programming key numbers into your senior loved one’s phone for easy access. You can include emergency numbers and medical providers in addition to family and friends. Finally, opening the lines of communication with neighbors or even a respite caregiver in New Hampshire can help build an informal local support community. A neighbor is often the first person to notice a sign of distress, and in a pinch, it is always reassuring to know that your loved one can knock on that neighbor’s door if he or she needs assistance.
With some foresight and organization, seniors can prevent a number of home accidents or crimes. If your aging loved one could use additional support in the comfort of home, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a trusted provider of part-time home care, ideal for seniors who need minimal help, in addition to comprehensive dementia and Alzheimer’s care in New Hampshire. To learn more, call us at (603) 471-3004 and schedule a free in-home consultation with a friendly Care Manager today.