Aging In Place

8/10/2020 | By Seniors Guide Staff

We all want to stay in our own homes – whether a house or an apartment – and live independently for as long as possible. Preferably forever!

You may be surprised to learn that you might be in more danger of having an accident in your home than you are getting involved in a car accident.

Statistics from WebMD show that most accidents do take place in the home, so here are five tips to help prevent you or a loved one from becoming such a statistic.

1. Falling

Even youngsters can be hurt in a fall … for oldsters a fall is even more danger.

  • If possible, move into a home that has no stairs, and that has as few steps as possible. Slipping on stairs is very easy to do, especially if they are the narrow stairs found in older houses.
  • If your washing machine is in the basement, carry up small loads each time in a bag, so you can use one hand to hold the rail and the other to carry a bag of clothing. Then just fold them when you get upstairs.
  • A walk-in shower with a shower seat, grab bars at strategic points, and non-slip flooring is much safer than a walk-in tub. Most walk-in tubs still require you to lift your legs about three inches, which can be an effort.
  • Make sure that all rugs lie flat or are secured so that you can’t trip on them. Best of all – remove all rugs.
  • Have grab bars everywhere. Beside the toilet, beside the bed (they can be secured underneath the mattress) and beside steps leading into a garage.
  • Forget the socks! Walk around in slippers with rubber soles, to make sure you don’t slip on hardwood floors to prevent accidents at home.
  • Never climb a ladder – to change a lightbulb for instance – by yourself. Use a sturdy ladder rather than a chair, and have someone standing right beside you with their hands on you lightly to assist with balance.

2. Scalding

Who doesn’t love a nice hot soak in a shower or bathtub? But sometimes the temperature of a hot water heater is set too high, and it can be easy to get scalded. Some people may panic if the water is too hot and in the stress of the moment not remember which way to turn off the faucet. Eliminate the possibility by lowering the temperature of your hot water heater.

3. Fires

Most fires are caused either by overloaded electric circuits due to poor wiring, or by grease fires in the kitchen.

  • If you’ve been “making do” with old wiring, the time to fix it is now. If you can’t afford to fix your wiring, be sure you don’t use too many appliances at the same time.
  • Never leave the kitchen if you’ve got food in a frying pan. Should the grease in a pan ignite, do NOT try to use flour or water to put it out! That will just make it worse! Put a metal lid over the frying pan to smother the flames, or pour salt (from one of those large containers) or baking soda (also from a large container) over it. (Note that you must use baking soda – baking powder is not the same as baking soda and will not extinguish a fire.)
  • Have a Class B dry chemical fire extinguisher in an easily accessible place and make sure you know how to use it. (Or at the very least, purchase a fire extinguisher designed especially for kitchen fires.) It could save you from many accidents at home!
  • Have smoke detectors in strategic locations and check their batteries on a regular basis.

4. Poisoning

It’s important to be careful with medications. This is important even if you’re the only one taking meds, but doubly important if your spouse or partner also takes medications which are different from yours. Separate the medications and make sure they are in easily distinguishable pill containers. By using a weekly pill container for your medications, it will be easy to verify that you’ve taken your pills for that particular day.

Don’t mix alcohol and your meds!

If you’ve got grandchildren visiting, store your meds in a locked cabinet.

5. Choking

You’ve probably seen TV shows – usually a comedic program – where someone gets a fish bone lodged in their throat and can’t breathe. The hero at another table performs the Heimlich maneuver and all is well. But if a bone or other piece of food gets caught in the throat, it blocks oxygen to the brain and brain damage can result in less than two minutes. It’s best not to let this occur at all!

Young and old can benefit from this advice: always eat your food slowly and savor it! Don’t gobble it. Chew small pieces. Consider eating deboned fish, and boneless ribs. Concentrate on eating, not talking!

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff