Simple Safety Steps You Can Implement Now

    You may have spent a wonderful time at your loved one’s home over the Thanksgiving
Holiday. However, did you take a careful look around and notice their home doesn’t seem as safe
as it should be. Although the home’s overall structure may be fine for your mom, dad, aunt or
uncle to continue to live in, the home’s interior may be presenting a veritable minefield of
hazards for older adults.
    “Older adults have less agility and many have a shuffle as they walk making a fall hazard
even greater,” says Charlotte Bishop MS (Master of Science), GCM ( geriatric care manager),
LCPC (licensed clinical professional counselor), president of Creative Care Management, an
Evanston, Illinois-based company, helping families by providing professional geriatric care
managers and special needs case managers who are your eyes and ears when you simply can’t be
there.  “Each year about one in three people 65-years-old or older will fall. Furthermore, half of
those more than 80 years old will take a tumble too.”

    Here is a short checklist of how you can protect your loved one:
 ☐ Floor Safety -
Visit before the Christmas holiday and remove rugs that can’t be securely attached to the floor.
Another option is to use double-sided adhesive tape to secure the rugs.  Also, consider the
lighting on stairs, in halls and entry ways. Handrails are a very good idea for all stairways as well
as hallways.

 ☐ Fire safety -
Check to see if there are enough smoke detectors throughout their home or apartment. Be sure to
replace the batteries in the smoke detectors if no one has done so recently. Add a carbon
monoxide detector as well if there isn’t one in the home.

 ☐ Kitchen Safety -
Maximize the lighting while minimizing the shadows throughout the kitchen. See how much
wattage can be accommodated by existing lighting fixtures. Add a night lights in the kitchen in a
strategic place. Make sure your loved one has a step stool with a grip bar on the top for reaching
upper cupboards. Also, get some of those gripping devices that fit over jar lids making opening
them easier, and consider timers that automatically turn off burners or heating elements for
cooking appliances or surfaces to lessen fire hazards.

☐ Bathroom Safety -
    “The bathroom is the place where most accidents happen,” says Steven R. Steiber, vice
president, Ph.D. with Creative Care Management. “It’s the perfect storm-a confined space
combined with potentially slippery and hard surfaces. Grip bars in the tub and commode spaces
and decals that stick to the porcelain tub surface are a good idea. In the shower, consider a bath
bench or chair with non-slip feet for your loved one who has difficulty standing on their feet.”

☐ Bedroom Safety -
    Be sure that a light is easily accessible from the bed to make rising at night safer. Consider
removing scatter rugs at bedside or using adhesive tape to make them non-slip.

☐ Clutter Safety -
    Beware of the fall hazards that can happen when newspapers, magazines or books accumulate
around the home. Also, check for lamp or other appliance cords that may obstruct walkways.

           Because accidents can happen any time, be sure emergency numbers are close to every
telephone in the house. If you are your family’s designated caregiver be sure your number is
listed first. Include on that list a trusted neighbor’s number and your own family phone numbers
in case of an emergency. Be sure the print is large enough so your loved one can see it.

    If you are seeking answers, advocacy or alternatives for your loved one, or if you would
like to know more about Creative Care Management, please contact Dr. Steven Steiber
ssteiber@creativecaremanagement.com.  Visit their website at
www.CreativeCareManagement.com or call: 847-869-5118, Ext 511.   


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