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Independent Living: Make Your Home Accident Proof

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 10 Mar 2012 | comments*Discuss
Accidents Independent Living Retirement

The home can be a common place for accidents, especially if safety measures have not been set in place. Implementing safety measures will drastically reduce the risk of accidents and make for easier independent living during retirement.

Making the Home Accident Proof

A simple fall or slip in the home can cause serious health problems, especially during the retirement years. A simple fracture that would heal relatively quickly during younger years can take many months to heal if you're older. Slips and trips are quite common in the home regardless of your age. Older people who are living independently should take some simple measures to make the home as accident proof as possible.

Eliminating the Causes of Slips and Falls

Loose cables are one of the major causes of falls and slips in the home. Cable ties are quite inexpensive and can be used to store away loose electrical cords. Also look out for frayed carpets and loose rugs which can be tripped on. Consider streamlining a living room that is cluttered with furniture; this will help to avoid bumps and falls.

Lighting is Key to Home Safety

Poor eyesight can be a problem in later life and it is important that lighting in the home is assessed. Ensure that all rooms have adequate lighting. Good lighting on staircases and hallways is a priority. Free energy saving light bulbs are available from gas and electric energy suppliers. Also remember to take advantage of free eye checks on a regular basis.

Safety Precautions in the Bathroom

The bathroom is another common place for slips and falls due to wet surfaces. Handrails should be placed in the bath area and bath mats should also be used to avoid slipping. Electrical equipment should never be used in the bathroom except where safety plug points for electric razors are provided. Beware of scalds from hot water; try running the hot and cold water taps at the same time. Local authority occupational therapy departments can help with the supply and fitting of handrails in the bathroom and throughout the home.

Simple Safety Measures in the Kitchen

The kitchen is another place where accident such as burns and scalds are commonplace. Special care should be taken when cooking, especially when frying. Always use a timer with an alarm when cooking to avoid burning of food and causing fires. Use long handled ‘grabbers’ to reach items that are placed on high shelves. When cooking, always ensure there are clear worktop spaces on which to place hot pans. Keep pot handles turned inwards when cooking to avoid easily knocking them over.

Handrails throughout the House

Handrails are an important safety precaution throughout the home. Handrails are essential on staircases and important in bathrooms. It does not cost much to fit a few handrails in the home and help is available through local councils. Anyone who has mobility problems can contact an occupational therapy department and have an assessment carried out in the home. Occupational therapists will be able to provide a number of home safety products that will reduce the risk of accidents for older people who are living independently.

Electrical Safety Points around the Home

Faulty electrical equipment and overloading plug points is an easy way to cause fires in the home. It is never a good idea to overload single plug sockets, and bar adaptors should be used. Always remember to have smoke alarms checked regularly; alarms that are wired to the electric system will take less maintenance than battery operated alarms. Keep all portable heaters well away from flammable materials such as bed linens. Smoking in bed is never a good idea, and electric blankets should be regularly serviced.

Safe independent living is easily achieved and the above safety measures will go a long way to avoiding accidents in the home. A personal safety alarm linked to the emergency services is an option to consider. Most councils will have a community safety alarm scheme that can be implemented and is linked to a 24 hour emergency service. More details can be found by contacting local authorities and social services departments.

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