The National Safety Council states that injuries are a leading cause of disability for people of all ages and they are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44.  National Safety Council statistics also state that each year 1 in 3 adults over the age of 65 will fall and about half of all falls are in the home.  June is National Safety Month.  We have talked about home safety and safety for seniors before, but thought it was fitting to once again visit this subject.
Some suggestions for making your home safer for everyone include the following: ask someone to move furniture which may be in your way, remove throw rugs or use double-sided tape or a non-slip backing so the rugs won’t slip, pick up books, shoes or other objects which may be on the floor or stairs, and tape electrical cords and wires next to the walls so you don’t trip over them.  Clean up spills immediately.
Other suggestions include fixing loose or uneven steps, both indoors and outdoors, placing an overhead light and light switches at both the top and bottom of stairs, replacing any burned out light bulbs, making sure any carpeting is attached firmly to stairs or removing the carpeting and installing non-slip treads to the stairs, and fixing or replacing any loose handrails.  Handrails should also be placed on each side of the stairway and extend from the top to the bottom stair.  Doors should not open over stairways.
Items which are used most should be kept in cabinets above waist level, keep emergency phone numbers in large print near each phone and wear an alarm device that will bring help if you fall and cannot get up.   Home Assist Senior Care can provide and install such a device for you.
Outside doors should always be kept locked to prevent unwanted intruders. If you do not know a person, ask for identification.  Legitimate vendors, utility workers and government personnel all carry picture identification.  Do not give out personal information over the telephone unless you personally know the person.  Ask for a call back number if you have any questions.  The fire department, gas and electric companies should be notified if there is a disabled person living in the house.
Manufacturer’s instructions for specialized medical equipment should be kept near the equipment and all residents should be familiar with how to use it.  Routine maintenance should be performed according to the manufacturer’s instructions and phone numbers should be readily available to obtain necessary service.  Backup equipment should be available in the home.  Adequate electrical power should be provided for all medical equipment.
During winter months keep walkways clear of snow and ice.  Always have steps and entrances well lit.  Make sure porches, balconies and decks are protected by strong and stable railings.
All family members and caregivers should be familiar with emergency procedures.  The fire department, gas and electric companies should be notified if a disabled person lives the house.  The heating system should be checked and cleaned regularly by someone trained to maintain it.  All residents should know the fire escape routes.  Fire extinguishers are maintained and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be placed throughout the residence, especially near bedrooms.
It is a good idea to leave a key with a neighbor you can trust.  Also exchange phone numbers with a neighbor and make sure that neighbor knows how to contact a family member in the event of an emergency.
We hope you find this information beneficial.  Much of this information was taken from websites for the National Safety Council (http://www.nsc.org), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (http://www.hhs.gov)  and the National Health Information Center (http://healthfinder.gov.
If you have any questions regarding this article, please feel free to contact us at Home Assist Senior Care.   We are always willing to talk to you about any safety concerns you have.  And remember, we are prepared to assist your family in their caregiving needs.
HOME ASSIST SENIOR CARE – YOUR FAMILY, OUR CARE.