Senior living is a popular option for older adults who want to maintain a high degree of independence and have no special medical needs. However, considering the physical and mental limitations that come with advanced age, it is crucial to make safety a priority when choosing a senior home. After all, not all of such facilities are created equal. And while the options are many, it is important to review each one with care, especially when it comes to the following key aspects of senior living safety:
The perimeter must be well-secured and access to the building should be controlled. The exterior must be fitted with strategically positioned security cameras and adequate lighting, especially around shared entry points. Paths should be level and resting areas provided. Ground transitions, such as concrete to grass or wood, should also be clearly marked, and any sections of the pavement that show signs of distress, such as patching and depression, should be cordoned off.
No part of the world is disaster proof, but preparedness is always a bigger concern in senior facilities. Before choosing one, make sure it has designated areas that provide shelter during hurricanes and other extreme weather, window protection, and backup power supply. It may help to consult local disaster response authorities to know what specific guidelines are in effect, and check to verify that the facility is compliant.
One of the most crucial aspects of senior living safety is accident prevention. When checking out a facility, make sure that:
- Secure handrails and adequate lighting are provided around stairs.
- Handrails and benches for resting exist in public corridors.
- Grab bars and rubber-padded flooring are installed in shower and toilet areas.
- There are nightlights around the bed and on the path leading to the bathroom.
- Residents must never have reach too high for cabinets, power outlets and the like.
- There should be lockouts at elevators, as well as alarms at exterior doors and unwatched sections of the facility.
Bath Time Flexibility
Bathroom safety in senior living facilities is not limited to grab bars and rubber-padded flooring. There should also enough room for at least one resident, two care providers, and equipment (such as a mechanical lift) at a time so that there is enough flexibility to provide safe assistance. A handheld shower that can be used while sitting or standing should also be available for a more comfortable bathroom experience.
Medical Staff and Stations
Finally, make sure there are enough medical personnel and caretakers to create a safe medical and general care environment for the residents. A facility should have at least one nurse and one physician on site to provide first aid during emergencies before moving the resident to a medical facility. Staff stations should be located where they can closely monitor the residents’ activities and immediately respond to calls for help.
Indeed, deciding whether or not a senior living home is safe is not always that simple. There are several critical considerations to be made, but the more obvious signs of senior home safety should not be taken for granted either – rounded corners on counters and casework, sturdy furniture, nonslip flooring, the absence of slip hazards, and so on. While there are other important factors involved, such as amenities and health programs, everything should begin and end with the safety of the resident.