6 Ways to Prevent Burns at Home

housing officer and tenant smoke alarm chat

Burns can be very serious regardless of who sustains them, but recovering from burns can be more difficult for older adults. We’ve all accidentally touched a hot pan on the stove top, or ran our hand under scalding water.

In addition to being extremely painful, recovering from a burn can be a frustrating, arduous process, especially for older adults who already have other medical conditions. In addition, seniors with vision impairments, balance issues, or memory problems can sometimes be more vulnerable to burns in their own homes. 

Prevention is key, so here are several tips on preventing burns at home, either for you or for an older loved one:

  1. Install an easily accessible fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home? Do you know where it is? Can you quickly grab it if needed? We recommend keeping a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, and checking to ensure your older loved ones do the same. If a fire breaks out while cooking you need to be able to put it out quickly, rather than running to another room to search for the extinguisher. 
  2. If possible, eliminate common causes of fires like candles and lighters. It’s so easy to walk into another room and forget about lit candles. For older adults who have vision impairments, they may not even notice the candle is still burning. 
  3. Set your water heaters to a lower temperature. We do not need scalding water for bathing or washing our hands, so there’s rarely a need to have the temperature on your water heaters set to the highest temperature. This is especially important for older adults who have vision or mobility issues.
  4. Keep the kitchen properly lit. Most stovetops have lights that activate when the surface is hot, and you need to be able to see the lights clearly when they’re on.
  5. Remove any tripping hazards in the kitchen and in the bathroom. It’s so easy to catch your foot on the corner of a rug and trip. If this happens around a hot stove it could result in a serious burn. 
  6. Regularly test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Check your own today, then ask your loved ones to do the same. This is an important component of fire prevention in your home, so don’t put it off.

Keeping older adults safe in assisted living 

When your loved one is no longer able to live alone safely and comfortably, it may be time to consider an assisted living community. There are many wonderful assisted living communities for seniors that allow them to continue living full lives, while minimizing the risk of sustaining burns and serious injuries. Older adults can be more vulnerable to burns and take longer to recover from them, so the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is in a safe environment is irreplaceable. 

At United Methodist Communities (UMC) at Collingswood, our residents enjoy a safe and secure environment, while retaining their independence. Our associates take precautions to prevent burns and other serious injuries among our residents, and we have medical professionals onsite who can provide immediate assistance if needed.

For more information about our community in Collingswood, or if you have any other senior care questions, please contact the team at UMC today: https://umcommunities.org/collingswood/assisted-living-south-jersey/

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