HOME SAFETY CHECK
Welcome to the latest edition of Senior Snippets: the monthly advisory column with the older members of our community in mind, brought to you by Bryn Evans of Home Instead in Sheffield.
One of the biggest fears for elderly people is the thought of having a fall or an accident in the home. Falls can be very serious at any age but an elderly person may take far longer to recover from its effects. Whilst accidents do happen, many can be prevented. This month we share with you a few tips on how to make your home a safe haven and minimise the risk of having an unnecessary accident.
- Who? Believe it or not more women than men have accidents in the home!
- What? Falling downstairs, tripping over loose tiles, flooring and left items. Suffering loss of balance after rising from a seated position too quickly or maybe having a dizzy spell. Slipping on wet floors, losing stability due to ill-fitting footwear.
- Why? There are all sorts of reasons why an accident occurs. Many are down to external factors in our environment that could be avoided with a little forward planning. Installing grip rails and sturdy bannisters, making sure areas of risk such as staircases are well lit, checking that flooring and equipment are up to standard and carrying our repairs before it’s too late. Be safe with fire, get a smoke alarm, test it regularly and always have an escape route planned. Avoid burns and scalds by not carrying very hot liquids, ensure your hot water bottle is of good quality and using rear hotplates on your cooker to prevent knocking a pan off the cooker.
- How? If you have a fall, how do you cope? Firstly don’t panic. If you are able to get up, do so very slowly, holding onto a firm object and putting a soft object under your knee if possible whilst you take the strain to stand up. Then sit down and rest a while. If you are hurt try to get comfortable until help arrives. Keep warm starting with feet and legs and try to move position regularly as this will improve your comfort.
- When? Accidents can occur all year round but in winter the elderly are particularly vulnerable. Hypothermia may not sound like an accident but it should be avoidable. Wear several layers of thin clothing, eat light regular meals and take drinks throughout the day. Make sure you move about regularly and don’t be afraid to contact your local gas and electric supplier to discuss any difficulties you may be experiencing with your bills.
I’d love to hear from you! To make a suggestion for a future topic, please write to me at [email protected] or by post to Home Instead, 6 Shirley House, 31 Psalter Lane, Sheffield, S11 8YL. Alternatively, you can also call me on 01142 507709.