50 Connect | Avoid Flying Carpets: A Senior Guide to Safety in the Home
Avoid Flying Carpets: A Senior Guide to Safety in the Home
Posted on: 19 June 2018 by Jim Raychrudhury
Every day, more older adults choose to remain in their own homes, safety has become a crucial concern. There are many steps seniors and their loved ones can take to increase safety in the home.
Make sure that important numbers, such as the primary healthcare provider, a caregiver or family member, poison control, and 911 are all programmed into the phone. Also, numbers should be clearly listed beside each landline. Be sure that the print is large and legible. The microscopic text is unhelpful to seniors.
Prevention of Slips and Falls
As we age, we are more likely to slip and fall. Even a minor accident can cause severe medical issues. Some healthcare providers recommend a risk assessment of the home. Beyond that, there are other steps one can take to maximize safety and reduce the risk of a fall.
1. Make sure the floors are free of clutter. Remove small items from the floor that may cause a person to trip. Consider removing incidental tables and stools that are easy to overlook and could cause a stumble. That small, antique stool may be highly valued now, but it will be less so once someone trips over it and has to be rushed to the hospital.
2. Rainy weather can lead to slips when people track in water and mud. Place mats at the doors so that visitors can dry their feet before walking across the floor. Be sure that the mats are slip-proof. Likewise, rugs and runners should be securely taped to the floor. Flying carpets are not fun for seniors, who find the landing is typically unpleasant. So secure those rugs to the floor!
3. Place slip-proof tape or a mat in showers and tubs. Bathrooms, especially, are dangerous for seniors due to wet, slippery floors. Also, place a handrail in the bathroom to make it easier to get in and out of the tub or shower. And get creative - handrails don't have to be hideous, but they do need to be secure and sturdy.
4. Don't wear socks or smooth-soled shoes in the house. If you have a cane or a walker, use it. Don't assume that you don't need it just because you are moving a short distance. Attempting to hold on to furniture is perilous, because it may shift or even tip over, causing a fall.
5. Avoid fatigue. According to this recent survey, those over the age of 55 have difficulty standing for long periods of time. Weariness can lead to stumbles and falls. Seniors should avoid standing for lengthy periods, and if standing is a necessity, use a mat to reduce fatigue and have a chair handy in case sitting becomes a necessity.
6. Install rails or banisters wherever there are steps or stairs.
Fire Safety and Burn Prevention
Fires and burn hazards should be eliminated throughout the home. There are a number of ways to reduce the chances of a fire or a severe burn.
1. Install smoke alarms in every room and keep the batteries changed.
2. Don't install heaters near curtains or upholstery. Don't store magazines or papers near a heater.
3. Don't wear flowing sleeves or loose clothing while cooking, lighting candles, or tending a fire. Remember what happened to Miss Havisham. It was not good.
4. Excessive cords can overload a socket and cause a fire. Maybe don't plug the radio, television, computer, and blow dryer into the same socket.
5. Never smoke in bed or leave candles burning overnight or while napping. In fact, it is better not to leave candles unattended in a room for lengthy periods of time.
Stay Safe and Independent
Older adults who want to remain independent can maintain their ability to live at home. These are just some of the steps they or their loved ones can take to help keep them safe.