Expert Guide: Safety Tips for Seniors

By Brenda Enright

Many seniors want to remain at home for as long as possible, and many are doing so successfully. With some preparation, you or your aging loved one can enjoy each day from the comfort of home without worry. You can take proactive steps to ensure you or your loved one are safe, including enlisting the services of dedicated home care professionals.

Keep reading to learn more about safety tips for seniors.

Top Considerations for Staying Safe as a Senior

Aging in place and staying home alone takes on a whole new meaning as you grow older. When your children were small, you did what you could to provide a haven in which they could grow into adults. Now, it is time to consider how you can create a safe place and take on new responsibilities so that you can blossom as you age. Here are simple suggestions to make your Golden Years the best ones yet.

1. How to Stay Safe in Your Home

Take an observant walk around your house. Remember those electrical outlet plugs you installed when your babies started crawling? You may not need to go to that extreme, but you can take these measures to ensure you are much safer physically at home:

  • Declutter your rooms. It will lift your mood and also keep you safe as you walk around indoors. Remove wires and cords out of your walking paths to avoid tripping and falling.
  • Place anti-slip pads on the bottom of throw rugs. This is especially helpful for those areas with hard surfaces, like your bathroom or hardwood floors.
  • Add nightlights around the house. Nature inevitably calls at 2:00 AM. So, install nightlights in your bathroom, hallway, and kitchen.
  • Stock up on flashlights. Be sure to have flashlights or candles on each floor of your home for those potential power outages.
  • Add a bedside lamp. Use it to read in bed or if you get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
  • Use rubber mats and grab bars in your bathroom. You will have support as you navigate your way around and avoid slipping and falling.
  • Keep your contact lists up-to-date. Keep important numbers programmed into your cell phone or written out on a sheet next to your landline, for easy access.
  • Check fire alarms monthly. Periodically, also replace old batteries.
  • Make it a habit to check in with family and friends regularly. For example, consider calling your kids on the same day each week. Then, if they don’t hear from you, they know something is out of the normal and can check on you.

You may also want to learn about Home Safety Tips for Your Grandparents and Safety Tips for Living Alone

2. How to Stay Safe when Outdoors

There are plenty of gorgeous Canadian days waiting for you to sit on your porch, dig in your garden, or take a drive. So here is how you can be safer when you head outdoors:

  • Remove clutter and debris from driveways, porches, decks, and stairs. You will love the look of a well-maintained yard and feel better knowing you reduced your risk of falling.
  • Make sure your deck and porch stairs are in good condition. You don’t want to fall climbing up or down. It’s a good idea to take care of any maintenance issues with your steps, including your railings.
  • Wear well-fitting shoes with slip-proof soles. Wet cement or deck planks can be challenging to navigate. Non-slip soles help you keep your footing.

You may also want to learn about 3 Winter Safety Tips for Seniors, Enjoy Gardening Season, Enjoy the Parks—Keep Your Dog and Yourself Safe

3. Ways to Stay Safe Online

The Internet is a wonderful place. You can check your bank account, find new recipes, or watch funny cat videos with your grandchildren. But unfortunately, it is also a dangerous place when you don’t take the proper precautions. Cyber thugs lie in wait for any of us unwary folk, including seniors. Here are a few ways you can avoid scams targeting seniors when you are online:

  • Keep your personal information private. Cybercriminals want to steal your identity. So, if you receive an email request for personal information, do not provide it, even if it looks like it is coming from your bank.
  • Keep your money in the bank. You will inevitably receive other unsolicited requests for money. Don’t answer them.
  • Use strong passwords. Start by creating a solid Wi-Fi password and then move on to your financial accounts. Please keep them in a safe place.
  • Look for the “s” at the end of a website name. For example, when surfing the Internet, look for an “s” at the end of the “http” in the website’s address. This denotes a secure site.

You may also want to learn about  Protect Your Parents from Devastating Scams and Fraud

4. Tips for Phone Safety

Since the party line days, we have used phones to catch up with family and friends. Unfortunately, others have also used the phone to hurt others, but you can take steps to remain safe when using your phone:

  • Look for a senior-friendly smartphone. Look for phones that have large screens and are easy to use.
  • Be aware of text message scams. Make it a habit not to open or respond to any text message where you do not recognize the phone number.
  • Make your phone secure. As with your Wi-Fi and online accounts, use a strong password on your cell phone or use its fingerprint technology.
  • Do not use your phone as a personal data storage device. For example, this is not the place to store your medical ID cards, driver’s license, or social security numbers.

You may also want to learn about  Cell Phone Safety Tips for Seniors

 

5. Safety with Pets

Having pets is wonderful. They keep you active and offer much love and companionship. However, before rushing out to pick up a cute, high-energy puppy or kitten, think about what would be best for both the pet and you. Consider answering these questions:

  • Are you open to changing your lifestyle? Pets require a good routine. Will you need to make changes to your routine?
  • Is your mobility limited? You can still have a pet, even if you are not as steady on your feet as you used to be. Instead of a dog, you may want a goldfish or turtle.
  • Are finances a concern? Pets cost money. Research the respective costs associated with each type and determine what kind of animal you can reasonably afford.

Once you have decided the type of pet you want, here are a couple of tips to help you with day-to-day life:

  • Look for automatic feeders and water dispensers.
  • Look for a vet that will do house calls.
  • Ask for help when you need it or hire help.

6. Suggestions for Safe Driving

As a responsible driver, you are aware of how to stay safe, but it is good to refresh yourself with these handy suggestions:

  • Have your vision and hearing checked regularly. Recognize that your senses will start to dull as you age.
  • Keep your doors locked. Most newer cars automatically do this for you. If yours does not, then make it a habit to lock them before you back out of your driveway.
  • Give yourself a curfew. Your teenagers had one, why not you? Jokes aside – it may get harder to see at night. If you must drive, see about taking a friend with you.
  • Stay up on car maintenance. Avoid getting stranded by making oil changes and routine maintenance a priority.

You may also want to learn about How to Talk to Your Mom about Giving Up the Car Keys

7. Suggestions for Tax Filing Safety

There are basically two types of tax filing scams you should be aware of. One consists of a thief stealing your identity and filing a tax return as if they are you. The other is when a criminal impersonates a government employee and calls or emails you asking for payment or offering a refund. It’s good to remember that:

  • The CRA will not call nor email you as a point of initial contact.
  • The CRA will not get aggressive or threaten you.
  • Thugs will claim to have all your information but the last four digits of your social security number.
  • The CRA will offer opportunities to dispute the claim against you, criminals won’t.

You can protect yourself by:

  • Keeping your sensitive information protected and shredding sensitive documents.
  • Filing your taxes early to beat a thief to the finish line.
  • Contacting the CRA immediately if you believe you are at risk of identity theft.

Age in Place with Help from Home Instead

Stay at home and enjoy each day to its fullest when you enlist the services of the caring team at Home Instead. Our staff is highly trained and ready to serve you or your senior with home care, dementia, and Alzheimer’s care, and many more options. In addition, we provide support when you need an extra hand.

Call us at (905) 276-2273 to schedule a no-obligation, in-home consultation. Learn more about the compassionate, quality senior care we deliver each day to families in Mississauga and surrounding communities.

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