Every year thousands of seniors are treated in medical centers and emergency rooms for injuries due to common household items. Many of these injuries result from safety hazards that are easy to overlook, but are also easy to fix. At Aftenro, we want to support seniors’ wishes to live in their own home for as long as possible. Here are some of our tips to help you stay safe in your home:
- Take your medications exactly as your doctor tells you to and as the bottle instructs. Do not make any changes to your prescribed medications without calling your doctor first.
- Keep a list of your medications with the drug name, dose and how often you need to take them. Remember to update the list each time there is a medication change. Put a copy of the list in your wallet in case you need emergency medical care.
- Make sure any doctor you are seeing is aware of all the medications you are taking, including prescriptions, vitamins, herbal supplements and over-the-counter medications.
- Make all your purchases from one pharmacy whenever possible. They can help you track your medications and let you know of any possible side effects.
- Use a pill planner to set up your medications if you are getting dosage times and days confused. Ask your pharmacy how to use this planner if you have questions. Seek medical assistance if you cannot manage your medications.
- Don’t take medications prescribed for someone else. This could have dangerous consequences for your health.
- Keep a flashlight and a telephone on a bedside table.
- Use only UL-approved electric blankets. To prevent overheating, do not tuck in or put anything on top of an electric blanket.
- Sit on the edge of the bed before standing to avoid becoming dizzy.
- Keep a cane or walker by the bed.
- Adjust the height of your bed so that it’s easy to get into and out of.
- Use nightlights to illuminate doorways and pathways to the bathroom and kitchen.
- Keep walkways clear of electrical cords, loose rug edges and protruding chairs or tables.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector.
- Help prevent falls in the tub or shower by installing grab bars and non-slip mats.
- Reduce the water heater temperature to 120˚F or below to avoid accidental scalding.
- Use a shower chair.
- Install smoke detectors and check their batteries regularly.
- Get a fire extinguisher and learn how to use it.
- Make a fire exit plan.
- Use extreme caution with portable heaters.
- Unplug appliances when not in use.
- Use extension cords with caution. Do not exceed the UL rating.
- Avoid reaching overhead or bending low. Store often-used items on shelves that are easily accessible.
- Place the microwave on a counter or table for easy access.
- Wear rubber-soled shoes to prevent slipping.
- Clearly mark the “off” position on the stove or range.
Following these tips may help seniors to stay in their own homes longer, allowing for greater autonomy and less injury.