For aging parents, their homes are certainly not the safest places for them to be. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that nearly one million people over 65 come into emergency rooms for injuries sustained in their own homes. In fact, accidental injuries in the home for older people is three times greater than it is for anyone else—60 deaths for every 100,000 people 65 and older as compared to only 20 deaths per 100,000 for people under 65.
Slips and falls are the main cause of injuries sustained in the home. Carpets and rugs that slip are a frequent cause for a falls. Bathtub mats with grippers and grab bars in the bathroom can reduce that number as can handrails on both sides of stairs.
It’s not uncommon to see patients who have been injured by hot water to have burns severe enough for hospitalization. The CPSC suggests that water heaters be kept no higher than 120˚ F to prevent scalding and the installation of at least one smoke detector for every floor. Flame-resistant nightwear is also recommended.
The reason so many older people are injured is that they don’t see the hazards. Many of them are easy to fix, but they must be identified first. One of the areas not often checked is cords. They should not be stretched across any open area lest they become a tripping hazard. It’s wise to avoid extension cords altogether if at all possible. Make certain there is no furniture resting on a cord. In addition, a cord under carpeting presents a fire hazard. Stapling or nailing a cord down is discouraged because a damaged cord can cause a fire.
Phones should be placed strategically so that if there is an accident, help can be obtained quickly. An alternative to the telephone which may not be accessible in the event of a fall is an emergency alarm that can be worn around the neck.
Aging parents easily get cold easily and resort to portable heaters for additional warmth. Space heaters can be big offenders. A three-prong plug on a heater should never be plugged into a two-hole receptacle. These heaters should have the safety feature that turns them off in case they are tipped over. If the heater uses kerosene or gas, correct installation and operation are important. If such heaters are unvented, a door or window should stand slightly open to provide ventilation. A carbon monoxide alarm is wise with one of these space heaters.
Elderly people die frequently in fires. Wearing short sleeves or rolling back long sleeves in the kitchen is a wise preventive measure.
Vitality Medical carries a wide range of safety products for older people including patient safety alarms and senior medical alarm systems. Vitality Medical also carries devices to help people be safer in their bathrooms such as grab bars, shower chairs, hand-held showers, and raised toilet seats.
Visit the patient care store at Vitality Medical for everything a caregiver of elderly patients will need. The advantages of ordering at Vitality Medical are that the prices are right, and everything you need can be ordered online without leaving your home or in the case of the caregiver, the patient’s home.