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Safety First

Does your home need a checkup?

It’s easy to take home safety for granted. Smoke alarms on the ceiling, fire extinguishers stowed in cabinets, and appropriate lighting in every room are a good place to start, but having them is only the beginning, you have to maintain them. If you have an aging loved one living at home, it’s imperative you help ensure that their household is safe.

Contrary to popular belief, smoke detectors do not have an infinite source of power. The batteries in them must be changed every six months to make sure they are functioning properly. Having a hard time remembering to change the batteries? Just change them during Daylight Savings each year. Whether they’ve forgotten, or don’t feel comfortable standing on a ladder to do it, many seniors haven’t changed the batteries in their alarms in years.

Keeping fresh batteries in a detector may seem unimportant, but smoke alarms are a significant home safety aid. According to the United States Fire Administration, the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes featuring working smoke alarms. The agency also reports that three-fifths of fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms.

Fire extinguishers are another safety essential that can be easily neglected. Many seniors purchase extinguishers, then assume they’re protected. But what good is a fire extinguisher if it malfunctions when you need it. To make sure your extinguisher is working, it must be checked monthly. Extinguishers should be inspected for visible damage, the pressure gauges inspected to make sure they still fall within the acceptable limits, and affirm that the pull pin and tamper seal are still intact. If you have any questions, your local fire station can help you assess the extinguisher.

Finally, make sure your loved one is living in a well-lit space. The CDC reports that falls are the greatest danger to seniors, with over a third of American seniors experiencing a fall in the past year. One of the most common reasons for falls in the home is insufficient lighting. Dark corners obscure upturned rugs, clutter and wires – all common culprits of falls. Make sure the home has a stock of lightbulbs and offer to replace them personally rather than risk your aging loved one climbing upon a chair or step stool.

At Capital City Nurses, we know that you have to be vigilant to be safe. Go through this Senior Household Safety Checklist with your aging loved one and set a safety schedule. With fresh batteries, a few lightbulbs and a visual inspection or two, you can reduce your senior’s chances for injury. That’s worth a trip to the hardware store, isn’t it?

Posted on
March 12, 2015
Capital City Nurses