How Aging Impacts Personal Safety At Home For Seniors

Making Sense of Senior Safety


Observing the safety hazards in a senior’s home is one thing. Living them is another.

It’s not always easy to understand the physical limitations older adults face that could make home a virtual minefield for an aging parent.
According to research conducted by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network, nearly 100% of emergency room doctors in the U.S. and Canada report that the following health conditions are very serious risk factors as potential causes for injuries or accidents at home:
  • Mobility Problems
  • Poor Eyesight
  • Balance Issues
  • Confusion or Dementia
  • Impaired Motor Skills
Try putting yourself in a senior’s shoes. Difficult? Perhaps this will put things in perspective:
As time goes on, the effects of aging could impact all senses including hearing, vision, taste, smell and touch. These sensory changes often affect an older adult’s lifestyle as well. It’s a domino effect, of sorts, that might make a senior vulnerable to safety issues in the home.
Poor eyesight, for instance, could make it more difficult to see a throw rug, safely use a knife to cut an apple or take the proper dose of medication.

Aging’s Effects on the Five Senses

The following describes how aging can compromise the five senses:
Sight: By the time someone is 60, pupils decrease to about one-third the size they were at age 20. Add to that aging-related eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
Taste: We start out with about 9,000 taste buds. They decrease in both number and mass with aging.
Smell: Sense of smell can diminish, especially after age 70, because of loss of nerve endings and less mucus in the nose.
Touch: Decreased blood flow to nerve endings as we age can reduce the sense of pain and temperature.
Hearing: Our ears control hearing and sense of balance, both of which can be compromised as we age.

Making Home Safer for Seniors with Diminished Senses

It’s possible to counteract the effects of aging by being proactive. In fact, 100% of emergency room doctors surveyed in both the U.S. and Canada say it is very important that adult children take a least one day each year to perform a safety check of their loved one’s home.
Discover the ways you could help older adults safeguard their homes by completing a room-by-room safety check.
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