June is National Safety Month, an awareness effort that focuses on lowering the top causes of injuries and deaths on the roads and in workplaces, homes and communities.
Nearly a million people age 65 and older go to emergency rooms each year for injuries they suffer in their homes. Older adults die at three times the rate of younger people from accidental injuries at home, and slips and falls constitute the leading causes of injury.
Addressing Hazards in the Home
To prevent slips and falls among older adults in their homes, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors recommends safety measures like non-slip mats in bathtubs, grab bars in bathrooms, handrails on both sides of staircases, and carpeting and rugs that do not slip. Throw rugs in particular pose significant trip and fall risks.
In addition to slips and falls, burns from open flames and hot water cause a number of injuries to older adults each year. Experts recommend that individuals reduce the temperature of their water heaters to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding, and every floor of a home should have at least one functioning smoke detector. In addition, older adults should wear flame-resistant sleeping wear and during the day should wear clothing made of tightly woven materials like 100-percent wool or polyester.
Another key area is to ensure that all areas of the home have adequate lighting and that cables and other clutter do not become tripping hazards.
Safety Measures in Senior Living
Senior living providers like Elder Care Alliance take a variety of measures to help protect the health, well-being and safety of residents. While no safety measures can prevent falls and other accidents, Elder Care Alliance team members work diligently to ensure their communities have a strong culture of safety and risk management.
Some of the safety protocols you will find in senior living communities like Elder Care Alliance communities include:
- Ample staff members to meet residents’ needs and supervise safety and security measures
- Sufficient lighting in all corridors, residences and common areas
- Grab bars and non-slip flooring in bathrooms
- Emergency call systems
- Control of clutter that could cause or contribute to tripping
- Quick cleaning of any spilled liquids or foods, which can cause slipping accidents
- Staff on duty at all times
- Regular attention to safety of walkways and outdoor areas
- Timely repair of railings, flooring, ramps and other fixtures
- Timely removal of storm-related debris from outdoor areas
- Disaster plans in place for earthquakes, flooding, fires, power failures and other emergency situations
- Food, water, medications and other disaster supplies on hand
We all deserve safe, healthy environments. Take time this month to perform a thorough safety check of your own living space to protect you and your family from injuries and accidents.