Nov 3, 2023

Home Safety For Seniors



Home sweet home.  A man’s house is his castle. There’s no place like home.

These quotes remind us that our home is meant to be our safe retreat from the world.  Being at home should feel as relaxed and comfortable as wearing an old pair of slippers, but sadly, many senior citizens don’t feel safe at home. 

The media seems to portray only the worst about getting older, and are quick to show seniors as the helpless victims of crime. 

Oddly enough however, recent statistics indicate that older people are actually one of the safest, when compared to the rest of the population! 

While this is great news, it does beg the question – why are so many seniors feeling unsafe at home?

Reasons Why Seniors Feel Unsafe

It could be that as we age, we lose muscle strength and are more prone to mobility problems. As a result, we worry about our ability to resist and fight off a would-be attacker or thief.

Perhaps it’s because of the unhelpful media stereotypes that portray senior citizens as frail, weak, and vulnerable.  

Then again, it may be because older people are more likely to live alone than younger people. 

Senior citizens don’t just worry about being the victim of crime, they also fear having a fall at home, especially if they live by themselves.

It Takes A Village!

Is it any wonder that so many over-50s consider the move to a retirement village?

There are many benefits, not least of which is that retirement villages often have a high priority on safety and security for residents. Units usually come equipped with features such as CCTV, gates, and fences, or access via the use of a security code which further helps seniors feel safe at home. 

Walk in showers, wide paths, hallways, ramps and other features allow residents to easily move around even if they need a wheelchair or other mobility aid. 

Plus, there are usually staff on hand, and quick access to health and emergency services if needed.  

Living in a community of others - with help close by - definitely helps senior citizens to have stronger feelings of safety and security. 

There is also a lot to be said for living in a caring community, with others in the same stage of life. There is often a range of social and recreational activities on offer, from BBQs to trivia nights and shopping trips, as well as facilities such as cafes, gyms, hair salons and swimming pools. 

Most retirement villages have been thoughtfully designed to help senior residents stay active and healthy, and enjoy feelings of belonging, rather than loneliness and isolation.

If you are considering a move to a retirement village, it’s a good idea to have a chat with a financial planner specialising in the challenges of retirement and aged care. They will be able to help you make wise decisions, and make the most of your assets so you can fund the lifestyle you would like during the years to come. Many seniors worry that if they sell their family home and liquidate their assets they may lose their pension, but that doesn’t have to be the case – so it’s definitely worth talking to a financial adviser to maximise your funds. 

Peace of Mind

For seniors who want to remain in their own home, there is a lot that can be done to ensure that they continue to feel safe and secure as they age. 

Having a pet is great for companionship, and a dog can help raise the alarm if you are unlucky enough to have a prowler or a fall. it’s also a great idea to get to know the neighbours, so help is readily available if something does go wrong. 

There are also steps that can be taken to improve the physical environment of your home, to make it a safer place to live. These might include: 

  • Installing security doors and screensscreens

  • Investing in sensor lights outside, or CCTV cameras, to deter intruders.

  • Using a night light to improve visibility for nocturnal visits to the bathroom (which often become more frequent as we age).

  • Removing rugs to reduce the risk of trips and falls. 

  • Installing grab rails in the bathroom or near stairs. 

Many countries have a government program like the Australian Help At Home Service which offers advice on how to improve the safety of the home, and assists by installing grab rails or ramps at an affordable price.

Today there are also plenty of services available that can make it a lot easier to maintain your independence and remain in your own home for as long as you want. From cleaners and gardeners, to handyman services and having meals delivered, the good news is that often these can be subsidised through an aged care package. 

It all just goes to show that with a little bit of thought and careful planning, we can all relax and enjoy feeling safe and secure, well into our senior years!

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