Tuesday, May 2, 2017
According to the Administration of Community Living, the population of age 65 and over numbered 46.2 million in 2014, an increase 10 million, or 28 percent, since 2004. As more and more senior citizens choose to live independently in their homes, it is important that they and their families know their home is safe. There are a variety of steps a senior and their family can take to make sure that they stay safe and can continue to enjoy living at home.
1. Avoid clutter: According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. Make sure rooms and hallways are free from clutter and debris, such as grandchildren’s toys or recycling piles. This will help avoid trip and fall risks.
2. Care while cooking: When cooking, avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing and long sleeves. It is very easy for a cooking flame to catch onto this type of clothing. If a fire starts while cooking, don’t try to put it out on your own. Immediately leave the area and call 911. And remember, never put water on a grease fire. It will cause flair up. Just get out and call emergency response.
3. Use the bannister: While it may sound basic, everyone forgets to use a railing or bannister at one time or another. Using a railing or bannister will help with balance while going up and down the stairs. If you use a cane, make sure to have it with you at all times. Additionally, it is a good idea to avoid rugs at the top of bottom of stairs, which can be a tripping hazard.
4. Bath safety: Place non-skid mats in the shower and bathtub to avoid falls. Grab bars are easy to install if necessary to help stepping in and out of the tub to maintain balance and avoid slipping.
5. Fire and carbon monoxide: Fire and carbon monoxide detectors should be in place on every floor in a home. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill before it is detected by an individual. While everyone is at risk for carbon monoxide poising, experts believe that individuals with greater oxygen requirements such as unborn babies, infants, children, senior citizens, and people with coronary or respiratory problems are at greater risk. Make sure all detectors are in working order and change the batteries twice a year. Don’t stand on a chair to change the batteries; always ask for help.
6. Stranger danger: Don’t let anyone in to your home that you do not know. If someone comes to the door that you do not and claims to be someone like a utility worker, make sure they are wearing a uniform and ask to see identification. If you are still not sure, ask them to wait while you call the utility company and verify a worker is in the area. If they are a legitimate worker, they will not mind the wait. Always trust your instincts. If you are still concerned, call your local police.
7. Consider a home health aide: If you require help with tasks like bathing, housekeeping, and laundry, consider hiring a certified home health aide for assistance. Having a person in your home to help with day-to-day tasks can help keep you safe and can make staying in your home more enjoyable. It can also provide daily social interaction at home with a safe person, who cares about your well-being.
According to the Administration for Community Living, about one in every seven, or 14.5%, of the population is an older American. Luckily, there are a variety of different steps and simple tips any senior citizen can take to make sure they stay safe while they continue to enjoy living in their own home.