Accidents can happen unexpectedly, especially for seniors. As the number of elderly people who live independently grows, it becomes more important to make sure that they are safe in the home. By learning about the most common accidents and ways to prevent them, you can minimize the risk for injury and serious complications from accidents.
Take the time to determine living conditions and assess risk factors. Doing this can help you take the right steps to remove potential threats before they happen. It’s also important to speak with your loved ones and their care providers to make sure that everyone is working together to ensure their safety. There’s no way to completely avoid all accidents, but these steps can drastically decrease risks.
Have Emergency Numbers Handy
Keep a list of emergency phone numbers next to every phone. Write down or print the numbers large enough to make sure they are easy to read in an emergency. You may have to make a call when you are in a hurry or frightened. Make sure you have the following numbers:
· Poison Control – (800) 222-1222
· Family or friends to call in case of an emergency
· Primary healthcare provider’s office
· If a senior has mobility challenges with walking or balance, speak with their healthcare provider first about assessing the risk for falls.
· Ask if there are any exercise programs that can help with balancing and walking.
· If a fall has happened before, think about purchasing a special alarm that can be worn as a necklace or bracelet. Even if there is 24 hour supervision, these devices can alert emergency services immediately after a fall happens.
· Shoes, slippers or socks with non-slip souls are helpful. Wearing footwear with rubber gripping can prevent falls on smooth floors.
Safety Proof the Home
· Ensure that all hallways, stairs and walkways are well-lit and clear of objects that could cause someone to trip.
· Rails and banisters should be used when going up and down stairs. Do not place rugs or mats near the top or bottom of stairs.
· Tape rugs down to the floor to prevent them from sliding when walked upon.
Prevent Bathroom Hazards
· Place rubber mats in the bathtub to prevent slipping.
· Install grab bars in the shower and near toilets to make it easier to get around.
· The thermostat settings on the water heater should be 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to avoid scalding.
· Special shower chairs and toilet seats can be installed to help seniors with mobility issues.
Avoid Fire Related Danger
· If a fire occurs, don’t try and put it out. Leave immediately and call 911. Make sure you have at least 2 fire escape routes planned.
· When cooking, do not wear loose fitting garments or clothes with long sleeves.
· Inspect appliances to make sure there are no damaged electrical cords.
· Install smoke detectors and replace the batteries as recommended by the manufacturer.
· Never leave burning candles, lit cigarettes or heaters unattended.
· Carbon monoxide poisoning is very common. Do not heat the home by opening the over or using the stove. This can be deadly.
· Make sure carbon monoxide detectors are installed near the bedroom.
· Keep medications in their original containers so they don’t get mixed up.
· Ask the pharmacy to put large print the labels.
· Bring all of your pill bottles to doctor appointments so the physician can make sure they are being taken properly.
· Never mix cleaning products like bleach and ammonia. This creates a harmful, deadly gas.
DISCLAIMER – The information provided is not intended to replace medical advice given by a licensed health practitioner or diagnose health conditions. Always consult your healthcare provider about medication, symptoms and health issues.