Winter at Home: Safety Tips for Seniors
As we get older, things that seem simple become complicated, and everyday tasks require much more effort. Typically we must revise our view of our abilities and needs.
As Huffington Post reports, many seniors want and can afford to “age in place.” This helps seniors maintain their independence and identity. And while this keeps many seniors active and comfortable, it’s important to take note of precautions in and around the house, particularly when winter rolls around. Realtor Brian Chandler has a few pointers.
- Install and check smoke alarms
- Install and check a carbon monoxide detector
- Be cautious when using a wood burning fireplace. Place a glass screen to catch flying sparks or embers.
- Get a fire extinguisher and learn how to operate it properly
Wintertime means you’ll be spending even more time indoors, so, in addition to removing hazards, be sure your home is as stress-free as possible. Start by removing any clutter that has accumulated, including old magazines and newspapers, and donating any unneeded items to a local nonprofit or Goodwill. Also incorporate a few houseplants in the rooms you spend the most downtime. Allowing in natural light is a great idea as well, so open up those curtains and blinds during the day. You’ll find the air of positivity in your living space will make you more mindful of risks that need to be addressed.
Heaters and Heating Systems
Space heaters are a common way to warm your house in winter. However, many people get too confident with these 3 feet away from the heater and sometimes leave them unattended. Try to purchase a heater that automatically turns off if it flips or turns over.
When it comes to your heating system, you want to make sure you provide seasonal maintenance to keep it safe and running well. HGTV suggests changing the filters regularly and to schedule service calls early. Don’t wait until the dead of winter to call a service professional. Consider calling them as soon as you can so that they can identify any potential problems.
If you use your fireplace at all, it’s important to note the fire risk associated with dirty flues. Built-up soot and even animal nests can easily catch fire and do more than fill your living space with harmful particulates; it can pose a house fire hazard. Call in a local chimney sweep to thoroughly clean the chimney at least once a year, preferably just before first use before winter sets in. The average cost of a chimney sweep runs $225, well worth the investment in safety.
- Never leave food unattended
- Never set a coffee maker to automatic brew
- Avoid loose clothing when cooking near the fire
- Have a qualified electrician check all wiring and outlets
According to Consumer Affairs, about 80% of senior falls are in the bathroom. Most of these accidents occur because of slippery or wet floors, stepping out of a steep tub, not having anything to hold onto, and getting up from the toilet.
- Grab bars: These are easy to install and could be placed conveniently where one can hold on while getting in and out of shower.
- Use a shower chair: A good shower chair will have rubber tips on the bottom so it doesn’t slip. It can provide great comfort, convenience, and peace of mind while in the shower.
- Non-slip mats: These mats can help prevent slipping while in the shower
- Raised Toilet Seats: This can help reduce the difficulty of sitting and rising from the toilet
- Better Lighting: It’s always a good idea to make sure the bathroom and hallways are well lit to prevent unnecessary slips and falls.
Remaining at home is important to many seniors. Home is usually the place where many special moments occurred and memories deck the halls. But to keep seniors safe and enjoying their homes as they age, it’s important to recognize that awareness and a few modifications can make things easier and help prevent unnecessary injury.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
Real estate pro Brian Chandler of RE/MAX Alliance Group is a top producer and sales trainer located in the Parker, Colorado, area. Whether you’re buying or selling, team up with Brian today! 720.808.1007