Senior Safety During the Winter Months
During the winter, there can be an increased risk of danger for older adults. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, seniors 65 and older are at a higher risk of suffering fire-related fatalities. The potential fire and slip hazards can put seniors in harm’s way during the winter months, so we’ve compiled some tips for your senior to stay safe.
• Check on seniors regularly. It is important to check up on your elderly loved ones often. If you cannot, have somebody like a neighbor or a nearby family member do it. You can also opt to hire an agency that can provide this type of caregiving service and ensure they are safe during any emergency.
• Keep your walkways and driveways clear of snow or ice to prevent slipping. If you need help, hire a professional landscape company that will be able to line walkways with sand and salt. Seniors can do this task if they plan carefully beforehand and take multiple breaks while they work.
• Ensure seniors have an emergency kit. Having the necessary supplies in an emergency can make all the difference. Seniors should have a kit that includes food, water, and other essentials like medicine or hygiene items if there is a power outage or they do not have access to emergency personnel. Stock the emergency kit with things that can last for at least three days.
• Be cautious about extension cord placement. To avoid causing a tripping hazard, keep extension cords away from high-traffic areas. Do not place them under carpets, as this can cause a potential fire hazard.
• All locations in the home must be adequately lit, as dim holiday lighting can make it harder for seniors to see their way around furniture.
• If you have elderly guests, ensure that the light switches in guest bedrooms are accessible from the bed or a nearby chair. Having a night light between the guest bedroom and the bathroom might also be helpful. The potential fire and slip hazards can put seniors in harm’s way during the winter months, so we’ve compiled some tips for your senior to stay safe.
• Position furniture, such as low coffee tables, in a way that makes it easier for people to move around.
• Ensure you have non-slip pads underneath your throw rugs to avoid slips and falls. If your bathroom or hallway floor is particularly slippery, remove the rugs for safety.
• When seniors visit your home, ensure young children play in a designated area. You may also consider keeping lively pets under control and supervised when an older guest is present.
• Make Sure Electric Space Heaters are Being Used Safely. Many fires start in the winter months because of electric space heaters. If you’re going to use one, make sure it’s not next to any drapes, clothing, bedding or wires that can melt or catch fire. The CDC recommends you clear an area of 3 feet around a space heater to ensure safety.
• Every year make sure furnaces, chimneys, and wood stoves are checked and cleaned by a qualified professional. The last thing anyone needs is for the furnace to break when they need it most, or for a chimney to cause a soot fire.
• If the heating stops, turn taps on slightly to prevent pipes from freezing. Unfortunately, the winter months tend to bring about more injuries and accidents, particularly among older adults. A few simple safety precautions can go a long way toward preventing accidents and keeping everyone safe. For more tips on senior safety, read about home safety tips for older adults.
If you need professional help with fire and smoke damage mitigation, mold removal, or biohazard clean-up services, please contact PuroClean of Olathe today.