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18 May, 2016

Home Safety Tips for Older Adults

No matter where you live, there are certain home safety tips all older adults should know. In fact, falls and burns are among the most common home accidents for older adults.

Here’s what you need to do to stay safe.

Keep emergency numbers handy.

Always keep a list of emergency numbers by each phone. Write this information in large enough print so that you can read it easily if you are in a hurry or frightened. Be sure to list numbers for:

  • 911
  • Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222
  • Family member or friend to call in case of emergency
  • Healthcare provider’s office

Protect yourself against fire.

  • Know at least two ways to get out of your home. If there is a fire in your home, don't try to put it out. Leave and call 911.
  • When you're cooking, don't wear loose clothes or clothes with long sleeves.
  • Don't put too many electric cords into one socket or extension cord.
  • Make sure a smoke detector is installed and working.
  • Make sure heaters are at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, such as curtains, bedding or furniture. Turn off space heaters when you leave the room.

Prevent falls.

  • If you have fallen in the past year or have concerns about your balance, ask your provider if you would benefit from an exercise program to prevent falls.
  • If you have fallen before, think about buying a special alarm that you wear as a bracelet or necklace. Then, if you fall and can’t get to the phone, you can push a button on the alarm that will call emergency services for you.
  • Don't rush to answer the phone. Many people fall trying to answer the phone. Either carry a cordless or cell phone or let an answering machine pick up.
  • When walking on smooth floors, wear non-slip footwear, such as slippers with rubber/no-slip bottoms or flat, thin-soled shoes that fit well.

Protect yourself against intruders.

  • Keep your windows and doors locked at all times.
  • Never let a stranger into your home when you are there alone.
  • Talk over offers made by telephone salespeople with a friend or family member.
  • Always ask for written information about any offers, prizes, or charities and wait to respond until you have reviewed the information thoroughly.
  • Do not let yourself be pressured into making purchases, signing contracts or making donations. It is never rude to wait and discuss the plans with a family member or friend.

Find more home safety tips at HealthInAging.org.

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