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An elderly personal alarm with automatic fall detection can detect a fall and call for help without you needing to push the button. This is vital is you are unconscious or immobile following a sudden illness or a fall. The call will automatically go through to either your nominated contacts or a SureSafe operator, depending on which service you have chosen. You will be able to get the help you need fast, even if you are unable to press the button.

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Home Assessments for the Elderly: How and Why to Get One

Article by Daniel Westhead Daniel Westhead Sure Safe Alarms

Your home should be a sanctuary. However, for many older people, homes can become quite troublesome as they age.

There are many reasons why this can happen. Steps that were once easy to navigate can become exhausting. Weaker balance or eyesight can make uneven or slippery floors into hazards. Decreased body strength or pain can make it difficult to stand up and move about safely. And for seniors with dementia, something as simple as a dark floor can appear to be a chasm that’s frightening to cross. All of these struggles can lead to risky consequences – such as falls, which can have serious repercussions for the elderly.

Fortunately, there are many ways homes can be adapted to be safer and more comfortable for older people. One great way to access these adaptations is something called a home assessment.

In this post, we’ll discuss what a home assessment is, why you or an older loved one might want one, and how to go about getting one.

What is a home assessment for the elderly?

A home assessment is a free service provided by your local council.

During the home assessment, someone from your council will come and walk around your home with you. You’ll discuss all the parts of your home, how you use them in daily life, and where you’re encountering difficulties.

A home assessment is typically very detailed – perhaps taking an hour or more. That’s advantageous as it ensures that all kinds of struggles with using your home can be addressed at once.

How do you get a home assessment?

Just enter your postcode in the UK government online tool to be taken to your council’s resources on home adaptations. Then, simply request a home assessment from there.

What do you get from a home assessment?

After your home assessment, the person you spoke to will explain what supports or adaptations your home needs to help you go about your ordinary tasks more easily and safely. For example, an older person with severe arthritis in their hands and wrists might have difficulty twisting round doorknobs. The home assessment could suggest having these doorknobs replaced with the lever type of door handle that just needs to be pressed down rather than turned.

In other words, the first thing you get from a home assessment is expert advice. You might learn about a type of home adaptation that you weren’t aware of before.

Secondly, your council might help you get the home adaptations that the home assessment says you need. In fact, the council should pay for its recommended adaptations up to a cost of £1,000. If the recommended adaptations cost more than that, you can try to get them through a Disabled Facilities Grant.

The home assessment versus other types of assessments

If you’re an older person or the carer for a senior, you might already know that there are several types of free assessments that the council offers. In some ways, these assessments can overlap a little.

In particular, the home assessment can cover some of the same ground as a home hazard assessment.

A home hazard assessment is often performed as a part of a falls risk assessment after an older person falls at home. Its goal is to help prevent a person from falling again. In contrast, while a home assessment should certainly consider how to adapt a home to prevent falls, that isn’t its only focus.

Different councils might handle this type of assessment in different ways. For example, some councils have a dedicated falls prevention service that might be in charge of this assessment.

Another assessment from the council that you might have heard of is a care needs assessment. This type of assessment is for anyone, including seniors, who has difficulty going about daily tasks. It is not so specifically focused on the physical environment of the home. It’s more about what supports a person needs in every way, ranging from mobility aids to care in a care home.

What types of home adaptations could help?

As you might expect, there is a huge range of adaptations that can be performed to help an older person live more happily and safely in their home.

One major focus for a home assessment would likely be the bathroom. This is a particularly dangerous spot for elderly people who find it difficult to manoeuvre in unusual ways, like stepping over the side of a high bathtub. Plus, the slippery floors of the bathroom, tub and shower are always a risk for the elderly.

Potentially helpful bathroom adaptations range from small things like installing grab bars to larger-scale changes like installing a walk-in shower rather than a tub with a high side.

Other devices around the home can also help keep seniors safer. For example, bed hoists can make it easier for seniors with reduced mobility to get in and out of bed.

How to get the most out of your home assessment

There will likely be a lot to think about as you walk around your home during the home assessment.

That’s why it might be wise to gather your thoughts about your home before the assessment. For example, you could make a habit of noting down any difficulties you experience just after you notice them.

In fact, the NHS page on home adaptations recommends having a friend with you during the assessment. Your friend can remember points you wanted to bring up, take notes, and help you advocate for yourself. After all, the key with a home assessment is to make sure you mention everything. Sometimes it’s easy to get used to encountering difficulties in your home, to the point that these difficulties just become normal. You want to make sure that you haven’t forgotten to mention any struggles with your home environment that you’ve become accustomed to.

Getting all the help you can

Obviously, there is no single home adaptation that will keep seniors perfectly comfortable and safe. It’s best to think about the home assessment process as being about decreasing risk. The hope is that multiple supports, employed correctly, can add up to a significantly decreased danger of falls and other incidents.

One of these other supports is a personal alarm for the elderly. This device can’t stop an older person from falling or getting hurt, of course. What it does is provide comfort and help in the case of an emergency.

While any fall in the elderly is a serious matter, a “long lie” can make the impact of a fall significantly worse. A “long lie” is an extended period of time lying on the floor and being unable to get up. It can be immensely frightening and unpleasant – and for seniors who are injured or ill, it only makes those medical conditions worse.

How SureSafe offers seniors peace of mind at home

Experts in elderly care often advocate for the importance of remaining in your own home as you age. This is called “ageing in place.” Ageing in place means that an older person can stay in their own home with supports rather than moving to a care home.

Home assessments can help this cause. They help turn thinking away from the idea that a care home is an inevitable next step in the ageing process. Appropriate and clever supports can make all the difference in keeping an older person in the familiar home they love.

An elderly personal alarm can help with this too.

Sometimes even healthy seniors might worry about living alone. They might be concerned that no-one would be around to help if they needed it.

But an alarm with fall detection makes sure that even if a person falls and is unconscious, help will still be called. Yes, these alarms can actually tell when their wearer has fallen, and they call for assistance even if the wearer isn’t able to press a button.

Likewise, a one-touch personal alarm makes calling for help simple, even if an older person is feeling unwell and not able to get to a phone.

In short, a personal alarm is an extra layer of protection for seniors even after their home adaptations are done.

That’s why we’re so dedicated to elderly personal alarms here at SureSafe. In fact, our 4.8 out of 5 star rating on Trustpilot is a testament to the quality and ease of use of our alarms. And we’re here to help if you’re considering getting a personal alarm and need some advice. You can call us at 0808 189 1671, talk to us online through our live chat, or request a call back.

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