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Region 7 Public Health Office

Safety in the Home

AmbulanceWith over 2,000 visits to an emergency room among seniors living in the Trident area, falls represent a very real problem for people over 65 years of age. But, living in a safe home may help you prevent falls and injury. Here are some tips to make your home safer from falls:

  • Make sure lights and light switches are located near the entrances to all rooms, at the top and bottom of each stairway, and are within reach of each bed. Use the maximum wattage bulb allowed but be sure not to exceed the recommended wattage for each fixture. Have nightlights in all bathrooms and near bedroom doors.
  • Make sure all cords from lamps, phones or other appliances, are out of the flow of traffic in each room.
    Keep the stairs clear of all items.
  • Use rubber mats or slip resistant strips in bathtubs and showers.
  • Place handrails on both sides of a stairway and in all bathrooms.
  • Secure small rugs or runners with rubber backing or double sided tape to make the slip resistant.
  • Move furniture out of the walkway.
  • Consider replacing furniture with sharp edges or corners and removing raised doorsills. Or, you can paint doorsills a different color.
  • Put reflective tape at the top and bottom of stairs so you can see them better.
    Keep the items you use often in cabinets or on shelves that are about waist high.
  • Never use a chair as a step stool.
  • Have your eyes checked at least once a year.
  • Get up slowly after you have been sitting or lying down.

Taking steps to reduce the risk of falls is not the only way we can make our homes safer. Take a few minutes and check out these other ways to avoid accidents and injuries:

  • Keep portable heaters away from anything that could catch on fire. Be sure to unplug them when sleeping or away from home.
  • Make sure that stoves, heaters, and furnaces are vented to the outside and that exhaust systems don't leak.
  • If scalding from hot water is a concern, consider lowering the temperature of the water heater to 120 degrees.
  • Make sure you have smoke detectors on each level of your home as well as in or near all sleeping areas.
  • heck the detectors each month to see that they are working and change the battery once a year.
  • Never leave cooking food unattended. Keep the cooking area clean and clear of anything that could catch on fire.
    Check to see that all electrical cords do not have cracks, frays or breaks.
  • Store hairdryers, radio and other appliances away from all sinks, tubs and toilets.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Make sure that all medicines all clearly labeled. Clean out the medicine chest on a regular basis to discard outdated medications.
  • Post emergency numbers near all the phones.
  • Keep a flashlight and working batteries in the kitchen, garage and bedroom.
  • Have dead bolt locks installed on all outside doors.
  • For a better grip on knives consider wrapping the handle with masking tape or a round pot scrubber.
  • When removing food from the over use large potholder mitts made with heatproof material.
  • If you have trouble bending over, use long handled barbecue tongs to pick up items that drop on the floor.
  • Use a rubberized jar opener to open jars with screw top lids.