Important Tips To Keep Your Senior Loved One Safe In The Home Environment
August 14, 2018
This year, National Safe at Home Week will be observed from August 20th thru August 24th, and since that week is already on the horizon, now is a great time to start thinking about how you can help keep your senior loved ones safe in their own home. Your homecare professionals from the region around Everett and elsewhere urge you to consider some of the tips listed below which will help to ensure that the home is a safer place for your elderly parents. While this might seem to be a case of misplaced concern amid all the other potential health hazards that seniors are subject to, it should be noted that the #1 cause of household fatalities among seniors is slips and falls.
Fortunately, the vast majority of the situations which lead to slips and falls - and practically all other household accidents as well - are very preventable, with just a little forethought and attentiveness to safety, good housekeeping, and accident avoidance. Here are some recommendations for keeping every area of the home safe, and if even a few of these are implemented, your elderly loved ones will probably be much safer than they were before you began.
There are a great many potential hazards in the kitchen, many of which could impact the elderly, so special attention should be paid to this room. All flammable objects should be kept away from areas where open flames are used, as well as from miscellaneous heat sources like toasters and countertop ovens.
Cleaning solutions should be used with caution, making sure to wipe down exposed surfaces so that no accidental ingestion can take place. It's also a good idea to make sure the kitchen is well ventilated when any powerful cleaning solutions are being used. It goes without saying that sharp kitchen utensils such as knives and scissors should not be left lying around where they can be either picked up or brushed against to cause injury.
Make sure there's plenty of room for people to walk through the kitchen safely without bumping into things, and to facilitate good ventilation. Lastly, make sure all electrical cords are either stowed away or kept well away from any heat sources.
Floors and Stair Safety
Floors and stairs are an especially prominent hazard where slips and falls are concerned, and the elderly are especially susceptible to these hazards. For that reason, floors should always be kept clean, dry and free of all obstacles, especially areas in a heavy traffic pattern. Sturdy railings should be installed on staircases, on decks, and on porches, as well as along hallways if seniors in the home require grab bars in order to safely navigate around the house. All rooms in the house where your senior loved one would normally spend time should be well illuminated, so it's easy to see everything at a glance. This is especially important for seniors whose eyesight is not particularly keen.
The bathroom should always be kept as clean as possible, with floors dry at all times, so there's no possibility of slipping. Another reason for maintaining dry conditions in the bathroom is that it will discourage the growth of mold, which can be a health hazard for anyone in the house. Toiletry should not be left lying around in the bathroom, and any electronic appliances such as curlers, irons, hairdryers, or electric razors should all be stowed away in cabinets and kept well away from water sources. It's a good idea to install non-slip rugs and mats in the bathroom itself and in the shower or tub so that slips and falls can be avoided as much as possible.
While your senior loved one may not spend a great deal of time in the garage, it should still not be overlooked as a source of potential hazards. The garage should always be properly ventilated, so there's no possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. Chemicals such as gasoline, cleaning agents, and paint thinners should all be kept in a secure place, and probably locked as well. Any tools stored in the garage should be stowed away safely, and not left on the floor, or in areas where they can be brushed against and knocked down. All power tools should be kept out of reach, and ideally locked away, so there can't be any accidental access.
Most seniors are active enough that they at least like to get outside now and then, to walk in the garden or even just to sit outside for a while and take in some fresh air. While they're doing that, it's important that any hazards are removed, and good safety precautions are taken ahead of time. Make sure any fences are kept well-maintained, so that intruders don't come in, and pets or children don't get out.
If you have an outdoor pool, this should be fenced in, or at least locked to prevent casual access. Garden tools should never be left lying around, especially those with sharp edges or teeth. If you have a barbecue grill outside, make sure it's kept well away from any flammable surfaces such as outdoor furniture, decks, curtains, and even shrubs or trees. Don't leave poisonous substances laying around, such as fertilizers, pesticides, or weed killers, since these can be harmful to almost anyone who picks them up.