Many older people want to stay living in their own homes as long as possible, in order to stay independent. However, your safety needs can change as you age, and it’s important to make sure your home is still safe for you to stay in.
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Taking extra care when you’re out and about is easy to remember (and accidents in public can be helped an injury lawyer), as is the basics of health from exercise and nutrition. It can be easy to forget to make any changes to your home though, especially if you’ve lived there a long time.
Remove Fall Hazards
Falls are the main cause of injury for seniors, so make your home fall safe.
- Remove throw rugs
- Clean up piled clutter
- Discard old furniture
- Leave some open floor space to make walking around easier
- Never stretch extension cords across the floor
- Wear non-slip footwear around the house
Keep Emergency Numbers Handy
Do your own a cell phone and are you confident in using it? A lot of modern phones have a lot of extra features, which can be confusing if you’re not confident in using technology. It’s often better to have a basic model that you can use confidently. All those extra features can be confusing, expensive, and not needed. A phone with a larger keypad is easier if your eyesight is not what it used to be, or if you have arthritis in your hands. It’s also a good idea to set up a call display feature so you immediately recognize a call coming in from a family member or a stranger. Make calling for help in an emergency very easy by writing out a list of your emergency contacts and keeping it by the phone or in your cell phone case. Your list should include the following numbers:
- Emergency services
- Emergency contacts, such as family members and friends
- Your professional caregiving service if you have one
- Your healthcare provider’s office
- Poison control
Protect Against Fire
While you’re walking through your home looking for fall hazards, take some time to look for any fire hazards too, and get these removed.
- Change the batteries in your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors on a regular basis, and remember to check the batteries often too.
- Check the electric cords of all your appliances and lamps around your home. Replace any cords that look damaged or frayed at all, and try to limit the number of cords that you have plugged into any power strips.
- Be careful with candles. Never leave a candle burning and unattended. If you find you are forgetting you have lit a candle, it’s better to remove them altogether.
- Remind yourself of the fire safety tips you learned as a child, such as ‘stop, drop, and roll’ if your clothes catch on fire, and keeping low if you need to exit your home during a fire to minimize any smoke inhalation.
- Avoid using space heaters, as they can be a hazard. If you really need one, make sure to place it at least three feet away from any curtains, bedding, or furniture. Turn it off before you leave the house or go to bed.