Just making a few changes around the home of an elderly loved one can make a big difference in terms of avoiding accidents. Increased frailty and an inability to see or to avoid risks are mostly to blame for the accidents that can occur, but there are ways to mitigate these. Use the tips below to help reduce the dangers and take care of your loved one coming to harm and also How to Avoid Basic Accidents.
Falls, and their attendant injuries, are one of the most frequent accidents that can befall an elderly person. Risk factors include lack of mobility and problems with balance and gait, nutritional deficiencies, medication, the presence of disease, and a history of past falls. Females are more likely to suffer a tumble than males, and, of course, environmental hazards play a key role, too.
Slippery floors and unsuitable shoes are a factor in about a third of all cases of falls annually. Take steps to resolve this if relevant: check your loved one’s shoes to ensure that the soles have a good grip and make slipping less likely. You may also want to assess the flooring in the home and remove rugs that can be easily tripped on. Continue reading here for more ways to prevent falls and for details of other common accidents around the home and how to safeguard against them.
Different ways to prevent falls
- Other ways to prevent falls include installing grab rails at certain points throughout the house and making sure a chair is present in the bathroom and kitchen so that the elderly person you are caring for can sit down if they suddenly feel dizzy or faint.
- Make sure that things aren’t left lying around on the floor that could cause a trip and that no electrical cables are present that could cause a problem in this regard, too.
- Uneven surfaces can create problems, so assess these, if present, to see how they can be resolved.
- The use of a ramp could be an option or a simple rearrangement of a room so that these uneven areas no longer form part of a walk-through.
It’s really important to let your loved one know what to do should they suffer a fall and are hurt. It’s vital that they try to keep warm until help arrives. If this takes longer than about half an hour, then it’s important to try to move position and to move the feet to both improve comfort levels and support circulation.
Minimizing Fire Risk
Decreased mobility, impairment to the sense of smell, and a greater inability to be able to tolerate injuries associated with smoke and burns contribute to the particular dangers that fire presents to the elderly. Let us look some other ways on How to Avoid Basic Accidents while minimizing fire risks.
Different ways to minimize fire risk
- To reduce the risk of fire, fireguards could be added to your loved one’s home, and smoke detectors installed, too. Ideally, ensure these detectors are either mains powered or have a ten-year battery.
- If the elderly person that you care for uses an electric blanket, then it’s very important to make sure that this is being used correctly and is regularly checked and replaced when necessary.
- Avoiding drying clothes on heaters or radiators will further reduce the risk of a fire starting in the home.
Hypothermia is a contributing factor in the deaths of about four hundred people aged over sixty-five in the UK every year. To help avoid your loved one developing this condition, try to make sure that they wear several thin layers of clothing rather than a single thick layer, as this will better preserve the warmth. Choose natural fibres over synthetic fabrics for the same reason.
Other ways to prevent hypothermia
- Eating hot meals and drinking warm beverages regularly throughout the day will also serve to keep body temperature up, and moving about as much as possible – even if this is only for a very short time – will help, too.
- If you suspect the elderly person you are caring for is struggling to heat their home adequately due to the cost of fuel bills, it is worth speaking with the supplier about the situation to see if a reduced rate is available or if another payment plan can be explored.
Reducing The Risk of Poisoning
Accidental poisoning, usually from either carbon monoxide or prescribed medicines, is a particular accident risk to avoid when caring for the elderly. While looking at How to Avoid Basic Accidentsto prevent the former, any fuel-burning devices present in the home should be checked and serviced where required by an expert on a regular basis, and chimneys and flues should be swept at least once a year.
Care should be taken to prevent your loved one from exceeding prescribed drug doses. A medication organizer can be useful in avoiding this: pills are put into daily compartments, making it easy for your loved one to see what medication they need to take, and preventing them from accidentally taking more than the required dose.
Burns And Scalds
Burns and scalds can have a serious impact on the health of an elderly person, with contact burns sometimes proving fatal. The kettle is often the main factor where scalds and burns occur; using a spout filling or jug kettle, and only boiling the amount of water required, can help to lessen the risk, as can the use of coiled kettle flexes and cordless kettles. Using a wall-mounted heater in the place of a kettle is also an option to reduce risk further. Tea and coffee-making facilities could be rearranged to avoid your loved one needing to walk too far whilst carrying a hot drink, too.
How to Avoid Basic Accidents regarding burns and scalds?
- Regarding baths, ensure that the water coming out of the tap is no hotter than forty-six degrees centigrade, and the cold tap should be run first when filling the tub. Fitting a thermostatic mixing valve could be considered, too.
- In the kitchen, encourage your loved one to use the rear hot plates on the hob, with pan-handles turned towards the back of the cooker. Where hot water is used regularly, make sure this is of good quality, and be sure to check it regularly for any sign of damage.
Article Submitted By Community Writer