Keep Seniors Safe in Their Homes
As the baby boomers age, the 60+ population will spike from roughly 45 million in recent years to more than 70 million by 2020. Research shows that baby boomers’ expectations of how they will receive care differ from that of their parents’ generation. Overwhelmingly, they will seek care in their own homes and will be less likely to move into congregate living settings.
Currently, many other services are provided to assist in being able to continue residing in the home. Programs are provided for home health care, provision of meals, transportation needs, assistance with financial and tax issues, and other areas of need. The programs are designed to help us stay in our homes. But what do we do to protect our safety while remaining in our homes?
Until now, checking a home for safety has been ignored. As we age or face health or mobility challenges, it is more difficult to keep up with the demands of home ownership. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be confused with the influenza. Electrical hazards such as rigged wiring or unsanitary plumbing conditions are ignored. Calling a contractor is not the answer because they do not look at all of the safety issues in a home. Some contractors even defraud us with bad or unneeded repairs. In addition, more and more adult children live far away from their parents and do not have the time or knowledge to correct the hazards that may exist.
Senior safety inspectors are dedicated to keeping us safe in our homes. The inspector’s qualifications, standards of practice, accessible yet secure reporting system, photo ID verification, background check and other inspection features are important for us, our children and other loved ones to know.
What is the difference between a senior safety audit and the free assessments some agencies provide? Before senior safety audits were available, food, health care workers, and physical therapists were provided, but none of these helped us with the safety of our homes. While some health care workers, for example, may check to see if there are railings on the steps, they typically do not check to see if the steps are properly connected to the home. Heating service people check if a furnace will turn on, but do not check for carbon monoxide or other fuel leaks. Often electrical hazards, frayed wires, bad extension cords or unsanitary plumbing conditions are ignored.
A senior safety audit is intended to provide the client, occupant, heath care providers, home services providers and other responsible parties with objective information regarding the observed condition of the systems and components of the property. Senior safety inspectors look for structural, foundation, electrical, plumbing and appliance problems which are usually ignored until they have become an expensive repair. This information can be used to increase the quality of life, reduce health care costs and better direct the care of the property occupants.
Senior home safety inspections can also help maximize the resell value of the home - a value that you may one day have to rely on. In the interest of your family’s senior care services, you should definitely include a home safety inspection.