There are many common safety hazards at home. Some measures can be taken for the prevention of home hazards, to eliminate the risks of life-threatening incidents. These hazards can be physical hazards such as falls and slips to fire hazards at homes. Young children and senior citizens are more prone to getting hurt due to these common hazards at home. There is a list of safety hazards at home that should be avoided to keep the elderly safe.
Professionals can be brought in for a home safety check to senior proof the homes to reduce the potential hazards and risks at home. These professionals can highlight and suggest changes that need to be done so that home safety is enhanced.
Bathroom Safety Hazards and Fixes
Bathroom safety hazards are some of the most common safety hazards at home. These are very common among the elderly. Most incidents in the seniors are when they slip on soap and water in the bathroom. More attention is needed to reduce bathroom fall risks, as the elderly are alone in this space. A ConsidraCare approved caregiver can be hired and can assist any elder with bathing, toileting and other bathroom-related activities. Here are few fixes that can be done in bathrooms to avoid any accidents:
- At an advanced age, it is important to use grab bars in the bathroom area. Most elderly slips take place in washrooms when they have a slip but nothing to hang on to save themselves or break a fall.
- In the bathing area or tub, use a non-slip or adhesive mat to make it less slippery for the elderly. The use of showering stools or benches is another quick safety fix for the bathing area.
- An elevated toilet can also make it easier for loved ones with mobility issues to get up without slipping in the bathroom.
- Using handheld showerheads can help clean properly and without having to move around too much
Poor Lighting Hazards and Fixes
Poor lighting hazards occur when seniors cannot see properly. Lighting hazards can cause trips and falls which can be deadly in aged adults. Good and proper lighting in rooms such as bedrooms, hallways and kitchens can reduce a lot of risks especially for elders living on their own.
- Keep the house well-lit with small nightlights in the hallways leading to the kitchen or bathroom.
- In case of a power outage, keep a flashlight in arms reach so that the loved one isn’t moving around blindly and injuring themselves.
- Install handrails on both sides of the stairs so that they have aid and balance when moving upstairs or downstairs.
- Have switches for stair lights on both ends so that the elderly can have access to the switches on top and at the bottom without having to climb up or down to turn on or off the lights.
- In the bedroom, install a side lamp or a nightlight to help with any lighting problem if the senior citizen wakes up at night for a trip to the bathroom.
- Use high beam bulbs for proper lighting of the house. This gives maximum light coverage and lights up any dark corners around the house.
Kitchen Hazards and Fixes
The kitchen area is the most used room in any household. This is where a person spends the majority of their time while at home. A ConsidraCare approved caregiver can take over kitchen duties which can keep the seniors’ citizens safe. The carer can make the meals and provide grocery runs so the seniors can have help in their homes to stay independent. Some safety tips for kitchen hazards are listed:
- Move around regular use items so that they are easier to reach otherwise as someone to help reach for items in higher places. An older person has limited mobility which makes it difficult to reach for higher placed items.
- It can be dangerous to reach for items on higher shelves by standing on chairs or stools which can result in falls, especially in aged adults.
- Check if the stove is properly installed. Otherwise, it can tilt and fall resulting in serious injuries to the elder.
- Use an electric stove to reduce the risks of stove fires which can require calling firefighters to put out the flames.
- Cover and put away any sharp objects such as knives. The elderly with dementia and Alzheimer’s can easily hurt themselves with these objects.
- Carbon Mono-oxide is a silent killer. Fumes can be created in appliances that break down. An alarm needs to be installed in kitchens in case the electric appliances break down and release this poisonous gas into the air.
Fire Hazards and Fixes
Fire hazards at homes are one of the leading causes of death. In the United States, seven people die every day because of fires at home. Fires can start while cooking in the kitchens, overheated appliances, short-circuited light fixtures etc.
- Install fire alarms and smoke detectors all over the house, especially in the kitchen. Make all house alarms go off together in case of a fire. Replace the batteries twice or thrice a year. An at-home caregiver can keep these things in mind as important tasks.
- Place small-sized fire extinguishers in the kitchen and common hallways around the house. They can be easy to use for the elderly unless there is a carer with them.
- Don’t overload the electrical sockets with heavy appliances. Use separate sockets for each appliance.
- Unplug the appliances when not in use and put them away properly to avoid tripping on their cords. A senior can trip especially if they have the weak vision.
- Regularly check the cords and extension wires for exposed wires. Replace them as soon as possible as they can start fires or cause electrocution.
- Avoid using candles or place them away from curtains and decoration items. The flame can cause any cloth or nearby item to catch fire.
- Don’t leave the stove unattended if cooking on high heat. A live-in caregiver can help check if the stove is turned off after preparing meals.
- In case a house has chimneys and dryer exhausts, then they need to be cleaned professionally. They can accumulate substances that can catch fires.
- In the winters, heaters need to be kept at a distance to avoid cloth and blanket fires.
- The elderly can burn themselves if the water geyser temperature is high. If a caregiver lives with them then they can ensure that the thermostat is adjusted to a comfortable temperature level.
- Keep flammable substances away from the kitchen and open flames.
Living Room Hazards and Fixes
Living room hazards in the home are another source of injuries. The elderly can hurt themselves if care is not taken about the prevention of home hazards.
- Large screened and heavy televisions can tip over. It is a good idea to bolt them securely to the wall or put them on a proper table. They can cause serious injuries to a senior if they fall on top.
- Living rooms are filled with cords. An aged adult can trip and fall so cords should be properly tacked to the walls and away from the walking area.
- Rugs should be properly glued to the floor to avoid trips and fractures.
External Home Hazards and Fixes
Apart from common hazards in the home, there are safety hazards outside the house also. These can harm an aged adult so precautions must be put in place to avoid any incidents outside the house.
- During snow season, have a professional come and clear up the walkway of snow to avoid slipping. ConsidraCare approved caregivers can contact professionals to clear the pathways from snow.
- On the outside of the house, paint edges and narrow stairs with a contrasting colour to help them see clearly in dim lighting.
- Increase the traction between surfaces for walking by mixing sand and paint to colour the stairs.
- Add garden lights around the walkway to see properly. The lights help avoid tripping and reduce the risks of falling and serious injuries.
- Clear any clutter in the pathway so that the senior does not fall.
- Install banisters on either side of stairs to get walking aid and maintain balance when going up or down the stairs to enter or exit the house.
- Make sure that the boards on the stairs are not rusted, cracked or missing pieces. Replace and install new boards to avoid hazards to keep safe.
- Put away sharp objects properly such as shears and rakes. They can injure any senior if they step on these gardening tools.
Common household hazards can be avoided if following home safety checks. Prevention of home hazards is the only way to ensure that no life-threatening incident takes place and loved ones remain safe. A ConsidraCare approved live-in caregiver doubles up the safety of the elders for maximum protection at home. Hazards and risks at home can be found in every household but these are preventable.