5 Safety Tips for Seniors

January 31, 2012

The goal for many seniors is to remain in their home as long as possible, before considering a retirement community. And that typically means a few changes need to be made around the house. With over 15 years of providing care in patients' homes, Concordia Visiting Nurses (CVN) has made hundreds of recommendations for improving home safety. Below are a few safety tips for seniors to consider.

1. Reduce the number of fall hazards: Do a walkthrough of the house, looking for potential fall hazards. Some of the usual suspects include cluttered walkways, poor lighting and slippery throw rugs. Also, evaluate the height of the bed (too high is a problem) and make sure a sturdy chair is available for support with getting dressed, putting on shoes, etc. After identifying the hazards, make the necessary changes you'd be shocked at how often this step is overlooked!

2. Make the bathroom safer: For such a small room, there are a surprising number of safety concerns. In the shower, consider adding a no-skid mat, shower bench and handrail. Additionally, a riser seat on the toilet, along with another handrail, can help with getting up and down. Try to clear clutter from this room as well, especially if it's already a tight squeeze.

3. Use assistive devices when needed: There's an assistive device for nearly every task imaginable, so don't let the possible stigma of using one prevent you from staying safe. A walker, grabber or stair lift can greatly reduce safety concerns in the home. Concordia Medical Equipment offers a number of safety and mobility aides; call 724.352.1100 or e-mail here for information. Medication reminders can be a lifesaver as well. CVN offers the Philips Medication Dispensing Service, which provides an audio reminder when it's time to take a pill. At the push of a button, it then dispenses the medications at the time they have been programmed for.

4. Ask for help: For some people, this is a lot harder than it sounds. Remember, it's OK to ask for help from a loved one if you have a task that may be too physically demanding. Shoveling snow, raking leaves, moving furniture, running the vacuum these chores and others like them can present problems on your own. If your loved ones aren't available, you can consider a home care agency. CVN offers services like housekeeping, meal planning and preparation, grooming and personal hygiene, transportation to doctor's appointments, church and social events and assistance with errands, grocery shopping and laundry. Call 724.352.6200 or e-mail here for more information.

5. Maintain several avenues of communication: Having several telephones (programmed with emergency contacts, preferrably) is good, but keep in regular contact with neighbors and loved ones. That way if you fall out of contact for any reason, those you talk to regularly will know there could be a problem. Concordia Tele-CareGivers is a free service that makes daily phone calls to homebound individuals to ensure that they are able to answer their phone. The program is operated solely by volunteers who make two minute calls from 8:30 10:00 a.m. Monday - Friday. To sign up, call 1.866.352.6260. Also, consider a LifeLine personal emergency response alarm, which is a device worn around the wrist or neck that can summon help with the press of a button.

Visit the Elder Pages Pittsburgh website for more tips on staying independent, preventing falls and caregiving in general.


Celebrating 130 years of service, Concordia Lutheran Ministries has a long history of helping seniors and their families. And as one of the most comprehensive providers in the country, we're able to find the right fit from a care and cost perspective.

Concordia is one of only a few CARF-CCAC accredited Aging Services Networks in the world and recipient of the inaugural Pennsylvania Department of Aging Excellence in Quality Care Award. Serving over 20,000 people in the western PA region annually, Concordia offers a lifetime continuum of care that includes adult day services, home care, hospice, medical and rehabilitation services, memory support, personal care, respite care, retirement living, skilled nursing, and medical equipment capabilities.

E-mail us here or call us today at 724.352.1571 if you have any questions about our services and whether or not we can assist you and your loved ones.

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