Home is considered a safe haven for many of us. Yet even in the home, accidents can happen, especially involving older adults. As we age, balance problems and mobility issues can increase our risk of falling and make it difficult to navigate the familiar surroundings of home. With some foresight and planning, you can make your home safer for yourself or your senior loved ones. Here are some simple safety tips to help prevent accidents around the home.
A common source of accidents in the home is clutter. Pick up anything on the floor and dispose of it or move it to a place with less foot traffic. Decluttering also extends to moving items around so there are clear paths to walk around the room. Move any cords out of the way. Consider rearranging furniture around so there’s a lesser chance of tripping.
Rugs are great for decoration, but they can also cause falls if not secure. Using double-sided tape between the rug and floor will reduce the likelihood of rugs slipping out from underneath you. There are also rugs designed with slip-resistant backing you may be able to purchase. Especially important, make sure rugs in the bathroom are secure, as moisture and humidity can cause extra slipping.
Some seniors may have difficulty seeing in dark rooms. Install brighter light bulbs in hallways, closets and stairwells. Try adding extra lamps in frequently used rooms and consider lights that can be turned on and off with one touch for accessibility. For the outside of the home, try using motion sensor lights on pathways and driveways.
Another home safety issue that you or a loved one may face is being able to reach things. Shelves, bookcases, cabinets and other storage areas may be a problem for those who cannot reach them. Take a quick inventory of your most commonly-used items and move them to a more accessible location. You may also consider using a device, such as a grabber tool, to help you reach objects for a reduced risk of injury.
There are several things you can do to keep the kitchen area safe. For starters, do not leave food cooking unattended. Kitchen fires often start due to people leaving their food on the stove or in the oven for too long. If you or a loved one loves to cook, avoid wearing long or loose sleeves, as they can catch on a pot or skillet, or even catch on fire. When cooking with pots, turn pot handles away from the front edge of the stove. This prevents the handle from being accidentally hit and scalding food flying everywhere. Finally, make sure you have everything you need close by before you start cooking, and clean up the cooking area as soon as you can when finished.
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