It doesn’t matter how old you are or what state of health you’re in – life itself naturally presents risks.
Anyone can have an accident and get hurt doing physical activities, and even notable “safe” neighborhoods can be vulnerable to crime.
Despite everyday risks like these, seniors can have a safe home when they live in a senior community. The safety provisions taken at senior communities tend to go above and beyond to protect senior safety, since they’re a main priority at these types of residences.
For adult children of seniors who are concerned about their parent’s safety when they’re living on their own, a senior community lifestyle can provide peace of mind. Here are the elderly safety risks to be aware of and how Senior Living communities protect seniors from those dangers.
Senior Safety Risks
According to the latest research from the National Safety Council, in 2019, there were an estimated 131,400 preventable injury-related deaths in homes and communities. That’s a 4.9% year-over-year increase. The leading cause of death in homes and communities is poisoning (50%), followed by falls (29%).
Seniors ages 65 and older are more likely to be at risk for falls compared to younger people. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- More than one out of four older people falls each year.
- Falling once doubles your likelihood of falling again.
- Fall death rates in the U.S. for older adults increased 30% from 2007 to 2016.
When a senior is living alone and falls, they may be unable to get the help they need if they can’t get up and reach a phone to contact someone. Falls can also render victims unconscious, which poses other dangers.
Poisoning can happen to seniors when they take the wrong medication or incorrect medication dosage. Accidentally using a product incorrectly can also result in poisoning.
Other at-home risks include drowning, choking, fire and smoke, and mechanical suffocation. Again, seniors who are alone and experience one of these hazards may not be able to get the help they need in time.
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Seniors and Crime
It’s also important for adult children of seniors to be aware of crime risks senior adults face. According to the 2018 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Resource Guide: Crime and Victimization Fact Sheets, older adults are often sought out as crime victims and are less likely to recover from victimization. Only 45% of violent victimizations committed against seniors were reported to the police, the report states.
Seniors at home may be at risk for crimes ranging from burglary to scammers knocking on a door and stealing financial information in exchange for a bogus product or service. Combined with at-home safety risks, adult children may gain a sense of comfort when their senior parent or parents live in a community with safety precautions in place.
How Senior Residential Communities Keep Seniors Safe
Senior communities prioritize resident safety. From in-home safety features to supportive staff, here’s how Senior Living communities protect seniors.
At-Home Safety for Seniors
Senior communities are designed with seniors in mind. Think single-floor living, wide doorways and hallways, and fewer steps to navigate to get to, from, in and out of a home.
While each community will have its own design, you can find senior communities with home safety features like:
- Grip bars inside and outside of bathtubs, showers and toilets
- No trip hazards and objects that could be bumped into
- Raised toilets
- Bright lights and windows to illuminate paths
- Slip-resistant flooring
- Safety locks to places like pools and spas
- Electric controls with wheelchair access
Senior homes may also feature intercom access and emergency call systems, so residents can directly get in touch with support staff when needed. There may also be frequent wellness checks conducted by staff.
For seniors with more advanced care needs, there are also senior care options with assistance for dressing, bathing and moving to prevent injuries and falls.
Senior Community Safety
Many senior communities will have security guards and a gated primary point of entrance before a visitor can get to a home. A visitor may have to sign in with a front desk first, for example, or have the senior come out to meet them instead of being allowed to go directly to someone’s home.
Senior communities typically have 24/7 security cameras throughout a property, as well. These can deter crime and make it easier to aid in investigations.
Senior communities also provide disaster and fire safety precautions, including sprinkler systems and extinguishers throughout a facility. Staff are trained to protect residents in case of an emergency.
Having professional staff on-hand in a senior community also protects seniors for issues like wandering. Some senior care communities, like those primarily for memory care residents, will have other security measures in place, like private outdoor areas and secure doors.
Less Risk, More Convenience
Another way senior communities keep seniors safe with designs to facilitate a convenient, hassle-free lifestyle. Some communities feature dining room meals, for example. Since even basic tasks like cooking can be dangerous, seniors and their loved ones may seek out communities like these where residents can easily get food without having to cook.
Other senior communities provide services like housekeeping and transportation. Not having to do chores decreases tripping and falling risks. Seniors who receive transportation don’t have to drive and put themselves at risk while on the road.
There are also some senior communities that provide on-site wellness clinics to help seniors stay healthy. Senior communities with more advanced care needs may also have health care professionals on-site, 24/7, to treat residents.
Ensure Your Loved One’s Safety – Find a Senior Living Community
If you have a senior parent or parents and you’re concerned about their safety while they live on their own, it may be time to consider a Senior Living community. There are many senior lifestyle communities geared toward healthy, active adults, that also provide safety precautions to keep loved ones safe from harm.
Find out more about Senior Living communities near you.