Senior Safety Tips: Accident Prevention at Home
Accidents happen! But they don’t have to be the end of the world. Taking precautions and following accident prevention tips can help seniors continue to live safe and sound at home. Falls are usually the catalysts that set off other major issues for seniors – issues that require medical attention and more permanent living arrangements that require 24-hour assistance. Avoiding falls and other accidents are key to seniors retaining their independence at home for longer. With that being said, here is our guide to home accident prevention from our in-home senior care team in NJ.
Clean up spills quickly. Spills are an immediate and avoidable fall hazard at any age, whether it’s a glass of wine, water from the shower, or grease from the stove. Non-slip rubber mats should be placed in the bathroom, at entry doorways, and by the kitchen sink to help prevent slips from water, rain, and melted snow, and any other spills that should be cleaned up immediately.
Lower your water heater temperature. As we get older, it’s easier to accidentally receive a burn from a water heater – and it takes a longer time to heal. Check the water heater and lower the temperature to a maximum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit in your loved one’s home. It’s not advisable to turn the temperature any lower than 120 degrees, as this can cause legionella growth in the pipes.
Tailor clothing and check shoes. Clothes that used to fit your loved one may become too long as they grow older, making them a fall hazard. Each season, go through their closet and make sure clothes still fit, and replace or tailor those that don’t. It’s also a good idea to check the soles of their shoes to make sure the grip is still good. If your loved one has trouble tying laces, it’s best to get some comfortable slip-on or Velcro shoes to eliminate any chance of falling on loose laces.
Implement kitchen fire safety. Whether it’s forgetting food in a hot oven, long clothing getting in the way of a hot plate, or a hot pan spilling food on the stove, it’s easy for seniors to accidentally start a fire at home. It’s best to make sure smoke detectors in the kitchen are working well, to have a fire extinguisher nearby, and to keep the cooking space free of papers and other clutter that can easily catch fire. If possible, encourage your loved one to use the microwave more than the stove or an air fryer rather than an oven, and to always use timers while cooking.
Make the bathroom “fall-proof.” Bathrooms present the most serious fall risks for seniors. Even if your loved one is firm on their feet, an accident here can easily break a hip and cause severe injury. It’s a good idea to install grab bars by the toilet and shower. It’s also worth it to install a seat and hand shower in the shower for easy washing. If possible, try to make sure that someone is in the home when your loved one bathes, or have a home health aide there to assist them if they have more limited mobility.
Qualified senior home care services in New Jersey
If your loved one needs a helping hand to maintain their independence and health at home, talk to someone from United Methodist Communities at HomeWorks about getting a qualified, experienced, and trustworthy home health aide in NJ.
You can also look at our website for more information on how our innovative at-home senior care program works: