by Ron Tatro, Vice President
Many of us look forward to the end of a busy day of working, taking care of the grandkids, or doing tasks when we get go home. Home is our sanctuary, a place of rest and where we can let our “hair” down. For seniors, home can also be an environment that poses danger. Each June, the National Safety Council encourages everyone to identify potential threats to their safety while at home. For seniors, there are some additional challenges.
The Risk of Falls
Falls are preventable and aging, itself, does not cause falls. Some underlying causes for senior falls are muscle weakness, medications, footwear, loose rugs and clutter. What can you do:
- Remove clutter, small furniture, pet gear, cords, throw rugs, and anything that might cause someone to trip.
- Arrange furniture so there is plenty of room for walking
- Install grab bars in showers, tubs, and near the toilet
- Provide adequate lightening and night lights throughout the house
- Use non-skid mats on floors, stairs, showers, tubs
The Risk of Fire
Be sure that there are working smoke alarms on each level of the house. If the alarms require batteries, change them each year when the time changes. Test alarms on a monthly basis.
Be sure to have fire extinguishers and know how to use them on each level of your home. However, be prepared to leave your house if the fire is too large or spreading rapidly. Call the fire department.
Remove debris from around the outside of the house. Items such a dried leaves, dead tree branches, and dried brush can all be fuel for a stray spark.
The Risk of Kitchen Accidents
Seniors frequently get into trouble around the kitchen. Limited vision, confusion over leaving stove burners on or cords on appliances can all cause issues.
- When working around the stove don’t wear loose clothing that might touch a hot stove burner.
- Secure loose rugs, potholders, towels so they don’t fall on the floor causing a fall.
- Assemble all cooking tools and pans in one location prior to starting the cooking. This will limit the twisting, bending, and reaching required while cooking.
- Be sure to check for stove burners left on. Smooth cook top burners may be difficult to see and require extra diligence.
- A few simple preventative steps can help keep us safe. Our home can be our refuge from the world, a place of warmth and memories. Be safe in it.