Staying safe at home – Part 2. How can I keep my loved one safe at home?

By Machaela Magennis, 6:51 am on

Last week we gave you three tips to keep your loved one safe at home.

To recap:

  1. Remove slip, trip and fall hazards.
  2. Keep in contact regularly.
  3. Keep emergency numbers handy.
    This week we will give you three more useful tips to maintain safety in the home of your loved one.
  4. Protect against fire: Run a careful eye over everything in the home and identify possible fire hazards and risks. If possible, remove fire hazards such as stacks of newspapers, piles of dry wood, frayed electrical cords and so on. On 1st April each year, it is excellent practice to replace the batteries in smoke alarms. This ensures that in the event of a fire, someone with a limited sense of smell will be able to hear the alarm and evacuate.
    Some other very important was we can protect against fire include:
    • Check all electrical cords
    • Replace damaged and frayed cords
    • Do not overload the power point. There should be one plug per outlet.
    • Remove candles and replace them with torches
    • Remove bar heaters and electric blankets, and buy more blankets
    • If your loved one insists on a bar heater, it must be placed at least 1 metre away from
    • flammable items like bedding, curtains and furniture

    • Put sticky notes around the house to remind them to turn off the bar heater. You can also ask them if they did when you collect them or check in with them.
  5. Bathroom safety is critical. Bathrooms are confined, usually tiled and therefore are a high risk area for older people. Many falls can occur in bathrooms because the floor is slippery and the bath or shower are difficult to access for some people. It is also a high risk area for scalding.
    Below are some tips for bathroom safety:

    • Ask a qualified Electrician to set the hot water temperature no higher than 40° Celcius to prevent accidental scalding.
    • Use rubber mats in the bathtub.
    • A bathing chair in the shower can help prevent slips also.
    • Consider purchasing a raised toilet seat which helps the older adult get up and down
    • Consider installing grab rails
  6. Safety when opening the door. Unfortunately, some people prey on vulnerable people like the elderly. It is important that we educate our elder family members on practical measures to protect themselves from people door knocking and trying to scam them. You can discuss the following with your loved one and remind them often of what to do:
    • Place a note next to the door reminding them not to open the door if they do not know the person.
    • Lock windows and doors at all times but make sure they know where the keys are.
    • Never, ever let a stranger into the home when they are alone. Home Care Assistance care partners will be introduced before we place them into the home of your loved one.
    • Never agree to anything on the phone. If you have been told that a family member is in danger, or something else very serious, never give away your personal or financial information. Instead, please call the Police. If someone in your family is in danger, a Police Officer will come to your door with identification.
      There are plenty of scams that people try to use on seniors. It is critical not to agree to anything or release any private information without fully understanding the implications, preferably with a family member involved and knowledgeable.
      A lot of what I have mentioned here is common sense, however it is important that they are discussed in an open and respectful manner with your loved one. It is for their own benefit and longevity that we want to keep them safe in their own home, and education is the key to achieving this.
      Do you have any tips we can share with other readers?
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