If you’re worried about your aging parent’s safety, you may be trying to convince them to move to a senior living community. At the same time, you may be wondering just how much safer they’d be after such a move.
Senior living communities have specific features to keep their residents safe. Here’s what to look for as you begin your search.
Seniors living in their own homes can be vulnerable to crimes ranging from burglary to scammers knocking on their front door.
This is much less of an issue in a senior living community. Most (if not all) have a check-in area for visitors in order to prevent strangers from entering the building. Some may ask residents to meet visitors at the front entrance for the same reason.
You can also expect to find security lighting and security cameras around the property. Some communities may even have security staff around the clock.
You may be concerned about how your parent would respond in the event of a fire or a natural disaster in their current home. Would you be able to get to them?
This wouldn’t be as much of a concern if they were at a senior living community. That’s because senior living communities are prepared for emergencies. Fire safety features include alarm and sprinkler systems. There may be designated emergency shelter areas and possibly generator back-ups. And staff are trained what to do to keep your parent and other residents safe in the event of an emergency.
In their current home, your parent may be susceptible to falls, whether that’s on the stairs, in the bathroom, or in the kitchen while climbing up to get to an out-of-reach object. And if they did have a serious fall, it might be hours or days before someone discovered them.
Senior living communities are designed to minimize the risk of falls. Bathrooms very often have grabrails and walk-in showers that will allow your parent to shower sitting on a built-in seat or shower seat if need be, thus making a slip and fall less likely. Bathrooms may also come with emergency call systems so that that your parent can contact staff if they run into trouble.
Public corridors often have handrails on both sides. Benches and chairs along the corridor may act as rest areas.
Reducing other risks
In a senior living community, there’s also less need for your parent to do day-to-day activities that are risky for them now. For instance, any concerns you may have about their safety in the kitchen become a non-issue when they’re living in a senior living apartment where meals are prepared for them. It also means you don’t have to worry as much about whether they’re eating properly.
Staff in senior living may also look after dispensing their medications throughout the day. That way the risk of them taking the wrong medication or forgetting to take their pills is greatly reduced. Staff may also conduct frequent wellness checks.
If your parent has dementia is prone to wandering and getting lost due to dementia, secure entry and exit on a memory care unit greatly reduces that risk. Staff are also there to keep an eye on them around the clock.
Of course, not all senior living communities are the same, so be sure to ask each of them what safety and security features they have in place.
For more on this topic, check out our Choosing The Right Community guide.