10 Ways to Keep Our Elderly Safer
While home may feel like the safest place for you, it is in fact where the majority of accidents occur. Everyone is susceptible to an accident, but when it comes to the elderly, even the most minuscule of accidents can result in dangerous and long lasting consequences.
Being that the best case scenario for an accident is that it doesn’t happen, read the tips below and help prevent accidents from occurring in the first place.
When it comes to home safety, falls are often the first thing that come to mind. According to the National Safety Council, over 18,000 adults 65 years and older died in 2007 due to falls. It is no secret that the elderly are more susceptible to falling comparatively to the youthful, specifically because of issues with mobility and even some prescribed medication. There are, however, a few steps you can take in order to maintain a secure level of safety.
1. First thing’s first, clear all pathways of any excess clutter. When your home is disorganized and you find yourself surrounded by potential tripping hazards, the likelihood of a fall increase exponentially.
2. It is in your best interest to have light switches at the top and the bottom of staircases. By doing this, you’re ensuring that there will be a sufficient amount of light on the staircase at all times, no matter the time of day.
3. Due to the slippery nature of bathrooms, they can be very dangerous. Installing safety bars to hold onto, or perhaps a walk-in shower, could prevent some accidents from occurring. In some cases, you may be able to receive financial assistance for these features.
4. Good vision is necessary to prevent accidents for any age group. By simply being able to see where you’re going can prove to be very advantageous. Regular testing is recommended due to the rapidly changing tendencies of the vision of the elderly population.
In case of emergencies, it’s always better to have a predetermined plan on how to either avoid the emergency from ever happening to begin with or perhaps lessen the consequence of said emergency. Being that house fires seem to be some of the most common emergencies, you should:
5. Have a predetermined plan in place and ensure that all members of the household are well acquainted with this plan. Your plan should include knowing escape routes and, although it may be tedious, making a habit of having fire drills. Being prepared can be the difference between life and death in some cases.
6. Burns aren’t always cause by house fires. It is recommended that any hot water pipes that are exposed should be covered.
Everyday activities, such as cooking or cleaning, are things we don’t think too much about, but when you’re aging, it’s important to apply careful thought.
7. Keeping items you use most frequently on a lower shelf, so that they’re easily accessible, can prevent injuries while overreaching. Step stools can be useful but also dangerous. Without the need of a step stool, it will reduce the likelihood of a fall.
8. While no one enjoys multiple trips to and from the car to bring groceries inside, it turns out, as you get older, more trips become necessary. It’s also recommended that you have a designated location where you can place your grocery bags as soon as you walk in the door. Be sure this location is open and doesn’t create clutter that could cause potential tripping hazards.
Aside from the mental approaches for prevention, there are also physical approaches you can take for prevention. Exercising to maintain strength, balance, and flexibility can be beneficial.
9. For balance, Tai Chi is excellent. Normally, classes meet a couple times over the course of a week and the exercises focus on breathing techniques and other movements. According to the National Safety Council, your risk of falling can be decreased by up to 55 percent. Many senior centers and martial arts studios offer these classes; Google is a fantastic tool to find a studio near you.
10. You can always join the local YMCA or become a member of your local senior center. These facilities offer multiple classes for strength training to increase mobility and stamina.
It is important to take great care of ourselves and our loved ones to live a life that is full of happiness, health, and fulfillment. By following these tips, your own or a loved one’s safety may improve, which in turn helps to create a better lifestyle.