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Warning: Your Home Can Be Your Place of Doom
When you think of home, what comes to mind is a place of rest, comfort, peace, serenity and joy.
is it But did you know that your home can have more than a dozen hidden dangers that can turn it into a place of doom in the blink of an eye?
And the elderly, especially those 65+, are more often unfortunate victims of failing eyesight, poor balance and diminished cognitive functions.
To prove the point, here are some amazing figures that can make you give your home a second look:
o In 2009 in England and Wales alone, 7,475 people aged 65 and over died from domestic accidents, with 49% of these being from falls. – rospa.com;
o According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), millions of people 65 +, or one in three seniors, suffer falls. – cdc.gov.
Home accidents involving the elderly have become a big concern for government institutions, and regulators because some of these are preventable. But due to complacency, carelessness or ignorance, they end up in emergency rooms, or meet an untimely death.
To avoid becoming a figure in home accident statistics, these tips are very useful to you or your loved ones.
1. List all emergency numbers:
Have all the contact numbers of your children, next of kin, 911, poison control, fire department, your personal doctor or a suicide assistance center.
Put the list in your wallet or in a safe and easily accessible place, or in your phone’s Contacts list.
If you are tech savvy, load Apps on your phone so you can contact them quickly and easily.
2. Check possible sources of falls:
Check for torn floor carpets, electrical cords, lamp stands, wobbly dining table chairs, ladders, gantry welcome mat, tall cabinets or closets, living room extension cords, footstools, etc.
Don’t take them lightly. Even if you can move your home with eyes
close, these can easily cause you to trip and fall.
In addition to the above, add these to your precautionary list:
o Sleep on the ground floor, if possible;
o Have handles along the walls of your home – from the living room, kitchen, to your bedroom;
o Secure the edges of the carpet to the floor, or remove it;
o Put shoes and books where they should be;
o Keep food on kitchen counters so you don’t have to reach up when you need them.
3. Identify possible sources of fire:
In 2010, 143 people died in the UK from fire-related accidents.
Home fires are normally caused by faulty electrical wiring, overloaded electrical outlets, use of inferior plugs and sockets, unplugged electrical appliances, burning cigarette butts, oily carpets thrown near a hot source, failure to turn off the gas, etc.;
To eliminate these potential hazards:
o Use certified wires, sockets, plugs and outlets;
o Turn off devices before going out or going to bed; properly store flammable items, do not overload sockets;
o Install smoke alarms in your home and make sure they are functional;
o Have fire extinguishers in your bedroom, living room and dining room And make sure you know how to use them or that they are always fully charged;
o Do not try to put out a fire if it has already started. Get out and call 911.
4. Burns and scalds:
Burns and scalds can come from radiators, cookers, boilers, a hot bath or even a cup of hot chocolate you drink before going to bed at night.
Do not take this lightly. Contact burns among people over 65 can be fatal if they become infected.
To avoid this risk,
o Do not take hot drinks more than you need;
o Arrange your tea or coffee utensils as close to each other as possible.
o Handle your batteries with extreme care;
o Use gloves all the time when working around hot items in the kitchen;
o When showering, always turn on the cold water first, before slowly turning on the hot water button to prevent scalding.
5. Is your bathroom safe?
Bathrooms, as small as they are, are big when it comes to household accidents.
Accidents happen around the toilets, shower stalls and bathtubs.
To avoid these risks, be sure to:
o Use non-slip mats;
o Have grips installed;
o Set the thermostat no higher than 1200F to minimize the risk of scalding;
o Use special chairs if you have difficulty getting in and out of toilets and bathtubs;
o Have your cell phone nearby to dial an emergency number if you need to.
6. Eliminate toxic substances:
The elderly are particularly prone to poisoning due to a weaker immune system and lower metabolism.
Accidental poisoning or overdose occurs if you do not have proper knowledge of your prescription drugs, or if you take drugs not intended for you.
Storing partially opened cans too long in the ref can also cause food poisoning.
Don’t cut your food budget too much to eat stale or moldy food. This can also give you food.
To help avoid this household risk:
o Always wash hands before working around food;
o Avoid recycling food that has been in the ref for more than two days;
o When you buy canned goods, always check their expiration dates;
o Do not store canned goods in partially opened cans;
o Throw away moldy fruit and other food;
Regarding your medications:
o Always buy from credible and reputable pharmacies;
o When you ask for prescriptions, ask your doctor about possible adverse reactions with other medicines that you are talking about;
o Never experiment with drugs. Make sure you take what is prescribed by a doctor, not suggested by a friend;
o Do not take other people’s medicines just because you have the same disease. Different people react to medications differently.
Last year I ate something at dinner that gave me a severe case of food poisoning. I had diarrhea from 5 in the morning until late in the afternoon. Every hour on the hour, I had to rush to the toilet to flush.
It subsided when my daughter and son-in-law, both doctors, IV-fed me with a saline solution.
Yesterday evening, after attending the wake of an aunt who died four days ago from a bad fall, I met a young girl who also attended the wake of a neighbor.
She was already in her 60s, alone at home, and died from a fall while using the bathroom.
When relatives found her, she was already blue, with a large cut on her head.
No matter how safe you feel at home, accidents can happen at the most unexpected time and circumstances.
The security of a home can easily turn into a disaster; your retirement days can easily be cut short by a sudden fall, stale food, or a burning cigarette butt on your mattress while you slowly sleep.
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