Common In-Home Injuries and How to Prevent Them
Your home is your sanctuary, the one place you can be entirely yourself, relaxed and letting your guard down. As you age, your sanctuary can have hidden dangers in it that you wouldn't necessarily think about in your younger years. In order to have a healthy, injury-free senior life, it is important to address these common in-home injuries and ways that you can prevent them.
The most common accidental injury leading to death in the home is falling, especially for seniors. With age come weaker muscles, more brittle bones, medications, and many other reasons you could lose your balance or become dizzy leading to a fall. Water splashed on the bathroom floor may seems like a simple clean-up, but to a senior it can be a dangerous threat.
Slips and falls are responsible for over 6,000 deaths per year according to the Home Safety Council. The highest risk for falls are children under 5 and adults over 70. For seniors over 65, there is a one in three chance you will experience a fall in your home. So, what can you do to prevent this common accident?
Ensure there are grips bars in your shower, stairways, and various areas around the house. Offering a place to hang on to can reduce the severity or even eliminate falls. Place nightlights in bedrooms, hallways, and bathrooms allowing you to see during late night trips to the bathroom or early morning rises.
Another simple preventative measure is to get rid of small rugs placed around the home. They can cause an unsure elderly foot to trip and fall. Putting non-slip mats in the bathtub can make showering much safer an experience for seniors. Whenever water is spilled in the bathroom or kitchen, be sure to wipe it up immediately in order to prevent someone sliding to the ground.
When a senior slips and falls, it doesn't just mean a bump or bruise. Depending on the severity of the fall, it can cause lacerations, broken bones, or head trauma. Taking the risk of falling seriously is imperative as we age, especially if we live alone or reclusively.
The Danger of Medication
Interestingly, the second most deadly accident in the home is poisoning. This isn't an issue of eating rat poison or sipping a drink laced with arsenic, but about mixing medications. With all the potential health complications seniors face, there is usually a myriad of medications being taken at various times throughout the day and evening. Without following a strict, well documented schedule, it is easy to make a mistake and take double or triple of a medication without realizing before it is too late.
Managing medication can be tricky, and the last thing anyone wants is for a loved one to get confused and take too little or too much. One of the best preventions is to have an in home caregiver to assist with medication times and organization. If you or your loved one has issues remembering or is on many different medications, an in home caregiver can do more than just medication but also act as a liaison to family and doctors should your health issues become more serious.
Remember Fire Safety
Fires are the third leading cause of home deaths in the country, claiming approximately 3,000 lives per year. Forgetting something on the stove, neglecting a lit candle, and many other fire hazards can turn dangerous for you and your home. Be sure to have working smoke detectors placed throughout your home and, if possible, have a sprinkler system installed. This can not only save your home and memories, but your life.
Airway obstruction or choking can cause anyone to pass out, but it can be a more serious situation with children and the elderly. As you age, your lung capacity is not as powerful as it was in your younger years. If something does become lodged in your airways, chances are you won't be able to cough it up, and you will need the Heimlich maneuver. Ensure that you and anyone else in your home knows how to perform the Heimlich as this training can save yours or a loved one’s life.
Your home can stay your sanctuary through your golden years provided you take safety measures to ensure your own and your family's well-being. Having an in home caregiver can be an all-around measure that can not only keep your loved ones safe from accidents, but be a companion as you or your loved ones get on in years.