Making Your Home Safe in the New Year
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, Director of Home Instead Senior Care in Sheffield and Barnsley.
We are now in the New Year and many of us have made resolutions such as trying to keep active, save more money or spend more time with loved ones. The one resolution we can all stick to is to stay healthy and safe at home. Your home is the main place where you should feel most secure and now is the perfect time to carry out a few quick checks to ensure you are living in a home that is the safest it can be.
Make your bathroom safe: Have grab bars installed in your shower and near the toilet to make getting around easier and safer and put rubber mats in the bathtub to prevent slipping.
Safe and efficient heating: You need to ensure you stay warm this winter, safe and efficient heating will help you be as comfortable as possible in your own home. Have your gas appliances services regularly, by employing a certified professional. Have thermometers in all your rooms to ensure that rooms do not fall below a certain temperature. The recommended temperature for a living room is between 18 and 21°C. For other rooms, it should not drop any lower than 16°C.
Prevent falls: You need to make sure all hallways; stairs and paths are well lit and clear of objects that could potentially cause a hazard. Be sure to use rails and banisters when going up and down the stairs. All rugs need to be secured to the floor so they do not move when you walk on them, and avoid placing rugs at the bottom or top of stairs. Remember not to rush to answer the phone as many people fall trying to answer the phone.
Fire safety: Many fire and rescue departments in the UK offer free home fire safety checks, so be sure to contact your local fire department to schedule a home safety check. Also, make sure a phone is installed beside the bed in case of an emergency, and draw up a plan of what you would do in the event of a fire.
Prevent poisoning: Never heat your home with your stove, oven, or grill since these can give off carbon monoxide, this is a gas that you cannot see or smell, but is deadly. Ensure there is a carbon monoxide detector near all bedrooms, and be sure to test and replace the battery twice a year. Make sure all medication is in their original containers so you don’t mix up medicines, and it’s always a good idea to take them in a well lit room so you can see the labels.
Change your safe code annually: With cleaners, care staff, doctors and delivery men all potentially having the code to get into your home, there is a few people who could get to know your code through the year. Therefore, by changing the code every January, it will reduce the risk of unauthorised people getting their hands on your keys.
Ensure you have emergency numbers handy: Always keep a list of emergency numbers by each phone and write these big enough so you could easily read it if you were in a hurry or frightened. Be sure to list numbers for: local emergency services, fire departments, police department, your doctor’s office, family members or a friend to call in case of emergency.
It is important to stress that this advice shouldn’t make you afraid of being in your own home, I hope it simply acts as a gentle reminder to make easy checks which can significantly reduce the risk of anything serious happening.
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and we wish you all the best for 2016. I also welcome any suggestions for future topics from you all. All you have to do is write to me at Lucy.firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to 6 Shirley House, 31 Psalter Lane, Sheffield, S11 8YL.