Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks!

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman
3 min readFeb 12, 2024

Topic: Safety Proof the Home to Let Loved Ones Age In Place

One of my pet peeves is home safety when caring for elderly loved ones. One of the most common causes of falls in the home is the lack of safety in the environment. Tis’ true, as we age, mobility, vision, and illness can create a reason to pay attention as we care for our loved ones. Tasks, once done without effort, require consideration by the caregiver. Danger lurks in every room of a home, and caregivers must acknowledge the importance of home safety. It may seem like a no-brainer, but trust me, the hidden safety problems are not always ones you would think about.

We only think about tripping and falling once we trip and fall. We only consider the dishes in the upper cabinet once they fall to the floor and glass flies everywhere. We don’t consider the furniture that once was good to be now bad. We don’t consider end tables with sharp points. We may not realize that a low toilet seat with stiff joints of our elders is an accident waiting to happen. Safety prevention should always be top of mind. Here are tips that may help family caregivers make the needed changes to keep our elderly loved ones safe as they age in place.

Tips and Suggestions for Home Safety

Many families have invested in devices like medical alerts. They are amazing tools until it’s not. What do I mean? I am glad you asked. If your loved one becomes unconscious, disoriented, or confused, pushing a button to call for help will not happen. Some medical alert devices have automatic fall detection that will alert the monitors and call for help on your behalf. Any loved one with confusion and cognitive decline should never be left alone. A watchful eye is required when you allow your loved one to age in place. There will also be a cost to add various items, especially in areas where activities of daily living may occur. Consider this:

1. Remove sharp corners(coffee tables, chairs) consider rounded furniture.

2. Change furniture around in the home for adaptive aide use.

3. Remove area rugs and add non-slip mats.

4. Invest in sturdy grab bars in bathrooms.

5. Ramps and stair lifts are good investments.

6. Supervision is needed when reaching up in cabinets.

7. Investing in toilet lifts and shower chairs.

8. Proper lighting in all rooms is a must.

9. Water temperature checks and faucets must be labeled(hot/cold).

10. Clutter everywhere should be removed.

11. Fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors are a must.

As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, we prioritize keeping our loved ones safe. If able, allowing your loved one to help in the changes needed can help them feel a part of their aging journey. A plan always works better when the one being affected is included. Be safe! Be well!

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman is a retired registered nurse and case manager, CEO of Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate and author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor, and The Black Book of Important Information for Caregivers.

Website: www.cynthiajhickman.com

--

--

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

Dr. Hickman is the author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor and The Black Book of Important for Caregivers.