For older adults and seniors living in New York City, aging in place can offer independence and a sense of connection. In this blog, we explain how New Yorkers can adapt their living space as they age to ensure safety, wellness, and the freedom to continue thriving in the communities they call home.

Fire Safety Tips

Fire safety is critical to home security for any individual, especially for older adults. According to the National Fire Protection Association, adults aged 65 and older face a higher risk of injury or death in the event of a fire. We’ll explain where to place smoke alarms, how frequently to test them, and how to prepare a fire escape plan.

Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

If living in a multistory apartment or home, place smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your living space in addition to every bedroom and the kitchen. 

Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors monthly by pressing the “test” button on the device. If it starts chirping, it’s time to replace the batteries. Still, even without the chirping, you should plan to change them at least once a year. Taking these simple precautions can provide early warning of a fire emergency.

Have a Fire Escape Plan

Crafting a fire escape plan is a smart move at any age. You can create yours by outlining all the available exit routes from each room within your living space, establishing a meeting point outside, and ensuring everyone in the household is familiar with the plan. 

In New York City, your fire escape plan may involve understanding fire escape features and procedures in your building. Familiarize yourself with the location of fire exits, stairwells, alternative routes, and the proper use of fire escape ladders if available. Review evacuation protocols and designated meeting points outside the building. 

Practice and review the plan with everyone in your home to ensure a swift and coordinated response in case of a fire emergency.

Widen Doorways

As mobility needs change with age, widening doorways becomes a practical modification. This may seem challenging in the confines of a NYC apartment, but it’s not impossible. Consult with a contractor experienced in urban living spaces to explore creative solutions, such as pocket doors or swing-clear hinges, which can make a significant difference without compromising space.

Update Lighting

A well-lit living space is essential for aging adults as it improves visibility to reduce the risk of accidents. You should evaluate the lighting in each room and upgrade fixtures as needed. Consider motion-sensor lights, especially in hallways and bathrooms, to automatically create well-lit walkways that ensure your safety throughout the night.

Remove Tripping Hazards

Identifying and eliminating tripping hazards is another important element of home safety. Secure loose rugs with nonslip pads, tuck away electrical cords, and organize furniture to clear pathways. Also consider removing the door “saddles” in the doorway thresholds to avoid tripping. Regularly assess your living space for potential hazards and address them promptly.

Install Grab Bars in Bathrooms

Maneuvering throughout the bathroom can pose a unique set of challenges for adults as they age. Installing grab bars near toilets and in showers offers improved stability and reduces the risk of slips and falls. Ensure these bars are securely anchored to provide reliable support.

Install Railings and Ramps

In multilevel homes or apartments, staircases can be potential danger zones. Install sturdy railings on both sides of staircases to provide balance and support. This minor modification can significantly enhance safety.

In addition, for apartment buildings that have stairs, landlords may be required by law to add ramps in the front of the building for easier access.

Find a Home Health Aide

When additional support is needed, consider hiring a home health aide. These trained professionals play a crucial role in helping seniors maintain their independence at home. Whether recovering from surgery, managing a chronic condition, or helping with daily tasks, home health aides offer personalized, compassionate, professional care in the comfort of your own home. At The New Jewish Home, our Solutions at Home® ensures seniors have the care and support they need to stay safe and healthy at home – providing valuable peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Our dedicated geriatric care managers take care of it all, coordinating home health aides for long-term support or nursing and rehabilitative care to help patients recover from illness or surgery. Contact us to learn more about nursing and rehabilitation at home.