7 Safety Tips for Seniors Living Alone

7 Safety Tips for Seniors Living Alone

Living alone is often the first choice for seniors. There’s a certain peace of mind to spending your retirement in the place you’ve called home for years or even decades. But there are safety concerns that go along with being a sole occupant. Here are a few common-sense tips and safety precautions for seniors, or anyone, that is living alone.   

1. Know your neighbors

Getting to know your neighbors can be mutually beneficial. You’ll both have someone to water the plants, keep porch and sidewalks free of newspapers or clutter, and keep an eye on things when either of you are away. It’s also likely that your neighbors will check in on you when something looks suspicious around the area.   

2. Check-in with friends

Have at least seven friends, one for each day of the week, and plan weekly check-ins together. You may find that a circle of friends was exactly what you needed to enhance your conversation and social life!  

3. Install motion sensors and timers

Have motion-detecting lights installed to cover the entrances to your home; they’ll light your way when you arrive home after dark. Also, would-be intruders prefer the dark, and well-placed lighting will allow a level of security as well as the appearance of people at home. Indoor lights on a timer will also give the impression of activity in the home when you’re away.  

4. Prepare for emergencies

You’ll never regret planning ahead for an emergency! Here are a few ways to be ready for fire and smoke, power outages or extreme weather:    

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Pick a day (New Years day or Daylight Savings) to check and/or change batteries for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Make a fire safety plan and keep a fire extinguisher handy
  • Ensure that stairways and entrances are well lit and kept free of clutter
  • Keep railings and steps both indoors and outside the home in good repair
  • Assemble an emergency kit with flashlight, batteries, matches and candles, and store it in an easy-to-remember location in case the power goes out.
  • Prepare a supply kit for extreme weather emergencies stocked with canned food, bottled water, blankets and paper products     

5. Prevent slipping and tripping

Place non-slip mats at the entryways both inside and out and keep steps and walks shoveled in winter. Install grab bars in washrooms for safety while stepping in and out of the shower, and this one may seem obvious but - keep stairways free of throw rugs. Remove tripping hazards like electrical cords; the hardware or home improvement stores have loads of cord wrapping and organizing ideas.      

6. Appear ‘busy’

When the doorbell rings call out, ”I’ll get it!” Place extra shoes on the porch, leave the stereo on when you’re away, and keep a few lights on timers. When you’re expecting a repairman, cable guy or any scheduled unknown visitor, have a friend or two over to keep you company. When it appears that several people live in the home you’re a less likely target to strangers.

7. Keep track of your keys

Consider coded locks on entry doors and give the code to one or two trusted individuals only. For traditional locks don’t make more keys than absolutely necessary, and never hide your door key under a mat or planter, those are the first place intruders will look. Avoid tagging your keychain with identifying information such as name and address and keep them in a place you’ll remember.  

 

Written by Alice Lucette

Photo by seyed mostafa zamani of Flickr

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