Identifying Hazards Around the House

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Dressing:

Common Hazards:

  • Trips or loss of balance.

Safety Tips:

  • Get a hamper so clothes do not pile up on floor.
  • Have a firm-backed chair to allow your loved one to be seated when dressing.

Lighting:

Common Hazards:

  • Bumping into items and falls.

Safety Tips:

  • Consider a night light.
  • Place lamps in easy reach of the bed, so the senior does not have to maneuver in the dark.

Just in Case:

Safety Tips:

  • Have a bedside phone with preset numbers for ease of dialing.
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Medications:

Common Hazards:

  • Forgetting to take medication.

Safety measures to install/implement:

  • Use daily/weekly medication reminder containers.
  • Post reminder notes on the mirror.
  • Use medication alert systems.

Self Sufficiency:

Safety measures to install/implement:

  • Raised toilet seat with arms
  • Hand-held shower nozzle and a shower seat
  • Floor to ceiling grab bars for showers and tubs
  • Remove all small rugs or use only bath mats with rubberized backs

Slippery Tile:

Signs of Struggling with Mobility and Balance:

Look for signs your loved one has fallen or uses these items for support.

  • Loose towel bars
  • Torn shower curtain
  • Crumpled up bath mats
  • Cracked sink or tiles

Hot Seat:

Common Hazard:

  • Burns from hot water

Safety measures to install/implement:

  • Lower the water heater output temperature.
  • Consider scald-guard faucets.
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Higher Cost:

Financial Trouble:

  • High heating/cooling bills

Safety Tips:

  • Install lock-in switches on thermostats to control the temperature and help prevent furnace fires.

Repositioned:

Signs of Struggling with Mobility

Look for signs of recent falls.

  • Broken or missing tables, lamps or decorations
  • Repositioned furniture

Safety Tips:

  • Install adequate lighting throughout the house.
  • Remove clutter and clear walk paths.

Floors:

Common Hazards:

  • Trips and falls

Safety Tips:

  • Install low-pile carpets and remove all small throw rugs.
  • Install rubber ramps for thresholds on doors and between different floor types.
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Heat is on:

Common Hazards:

  • Starting an oven fire.
  • Getting burned.

Safety Tips:

  • Make sure smoke detectors are working and consider an alarm system with fire detection if your loved one is hard-of-hearing.
  • Install lock-in switches on stoves.

Yuck:

Common Hazards:

  • Consuming poisonous items

Safety Tips:

  • Lock up cleaning fluids and other poisonous items.
  • Put emergency contact and medical information on the refrigerator for EMS personnel.

Hub of the Home:

Common Hazards:

  • Spills or falls

Safety Tips:

  • Remove any small carpets.
  • Get a mobile stool to reduce long periods of standing while cooking.
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Oil Slick:

Common Hazards:

  • Falls on slick floors or down steps without railings

Facts on Fall Risks:

  • Falls are the leading cause of injury among adults aged 65 years and older in the United States and can result in severe injuries such as hip fractures and head traumas.

Fresh Air:

Common Hazards:

  • Leaving doors or windows unlocked or open
  • Trash piling up

Safety Tips:

  • Have someone stop by and take out the trash.
  • Install an alarm system that shows doors and windows status remotely.

Giving Up Power:

Common Hazards:

  • Misusing power tools

Safety Tips:

  • Lock up power tools or remove them from the home.
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Wall-to-Wall:

Safety Tips:

  • Install wall-to-wall low-pile carpets and remove all small throw rugs.
  • Install overhead lighting.

Facts on Fall Risks:

  • In the next 30 minutes, an older adult will die from injuries sustained in a fall.

Beneath the Surface:

Signs of Struggling with Mobility:

  • Watch for troubling behaviors such as wandering, altercations, or hoarding

Safety Tips:

  • If items are stored in damp basements, test for mold. Many types of mold are bad for overall health.
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Laundry Room:

Common Hazards:

  • Falls:
    • Carrying heavy clothes baskets
    • Spilled water or detergent
    • Traveling up/down stairs

Safety Tips:

  • If possible, move laundry to main living level to reduce the number of steps needed.

Weekly Clean:

Common Hazards:

  • Poor overall hygiene

Safety Tips:

  • Consider a pickup laundry service if available in the area.
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Out Front Door:

Common Hazards:

  • Falls, far from phones or other means of help

Safety Tips:

  • Make sure all steps have proper handrails.
  • Consider a medical alert system.

In the Yard:

Safety Tips:

  • Place chairs or benches throughout the yard to allow a senior to sit and enjoy nature.

Facts on Fall Risks:

  • Many older adults, even if they have not suffered a fall, become afraid of falling and restrict their activity, which drastically decreases their quality of life.
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