Creative and Affordable Home Safety Ideas
—thoughts from a fellow journeyman
I often get requests for ideas on how to affordably and effectively avoid pain, suffering and expenses associated with homecare. Last month, I gave a presentation on “trip & fall prevention” and highlighted the following:
- Throw out the throw rugs! Anything loose on the floor must go, especially when vision is impaired.
- Communication is a major challenge in homecare. Remember, there are three elements of communication, a SENDER, A MESSAGE and a RECEIVER. I devised a simple, inexpensive solution to frequent “disconnects” at home. For a nominal cost (tag and garage sales are excellent places to save money for these items), invest in:
- A “baby monitor”—this handy device listens to whomever it is near; it serves as your EAR to those you serve and for whom you care. There is a monitor and a receiver, the latter is what YOU as the caregiver, must keep with you at all times. Frequently, there are receivers that clip onto a belt.
- An intercom system, usually consisting of 3-4 separate units that send and receive.
Application of both systems:
Because I could not rely on my Mother to activate any device, anything I utilize must be automatic (self-activated). Hence, I set the monitor next to Mom’s bedside to hear everything she uttered. The sounds from this unit was communicate to the receiver, (usually on the belt of the caregiver). The (3 or 4) intercom units were set around the home in strategic positions so that whenever the caregiver heard from Mom, it was broadcast throughout the home on the intercom units. The caregiver, would merely reply to Mom on the closest intercom unit (that were dispersed around the home).
Result: Awesome, reliable and inexpensive communication system that maintained 30-second response time to my Mom whenever she required help.
Lighting in the Bedroom
The last tip I have today is a wonderful preventive technique regarding lighting in one’s home, especially bedroom. Mom was visually impaired..and subsequently tripped over her commode through NO fault of hers! I spoke with her on various solutions and, after I nailed the commode to the wall, I configured holiday lighting under her bed…soft pastel colors that were safely out of touch/tripping yet could light up the entire floor with the activation of a simple foot switch (common during the holiday season to activate Christmas trees). I installed the switch on the edge of Mom’s bed, on the railing so she could easily turn them on and off without disturbing Dad (who at the time, was alive and responsible for the lighting for Mom 24/7). As Mom’s vision deteriorated, I changed the color of the lights under the bed to WHITE. As her mobility and cognitive acuity changed, I automated the lights so that a direct light was targeted towards the commode…activated by motion detector…so NO action was needed on her part!
Result: Prevention of future issues, pain and suffering. Dad slept better and Mom was safer. Mom retained her pride and dignity….priceless at any age.
Be well…strive to be happy….savor every moment.