Preventive Safety is the key term for the elderly, prevention focuses mainly on frailty, accidents (ie, unintentional injury) and the objective is maintaining ability to perform activities of daily living.
Like charity safety begins in the home. Poor eyesight and hearing, arthritis, dementia and side effects from medications are all factors that can make a simple trip to the kitchen or the washroom a potentially dangerous undertaking.
Injuries to older adults are more severe because of brittle bones and thin skin, caution should be exercised at all times.
Falls are the most common cause of fatal injury to the aged. Many accidents can be prevented by practicing good safety habits and staying alert — even when performing the most mundane tasks.
Turn pan handles away from other burners and the edge of the stove.
Avoid wearing clothes with long, loose sleeves when cooking. Sarees & Dupattas are particularly vulnerable.
Disconnect small appliances when you’re not using them.
Clear counter tops and work areas of all unnecessary objects.
Ensure a lighter that requires only one click to light up.
Keep a window or exhaust on while using LPG stoves.
Keep drawers and cupboards closed.
Clearly mark the “off” position on stoves and ranges so a person with diminished eyesight can easily see if the element is turned off.
Move frequently used items to chest level to avoid stepping onto stools or chairs to reach objects.
Put all stored utensils, dry and condiments used at a convenient height.
Use a nonslip mat in the sink area.
Never leave food that is cooking unattended.
Keep towels, food packaging, potholders and other clutter away from burners.
Use fireproof curtains on windows near the stove.
Use a nonskid mat from the door to the shower & toilet area.
Install grab bars on the walls of the shower area and toilet.
Towel bars and basin edges should not be used to hold on.
Avoid using oil or lotions because they could cause someone one to slip.
Obtain a raised toilet seat to increase the height of the toilet.
Have sufficient, accessible light. Leave a night light on while you are sleeping.
Use a Shower chair to avoid the need to stand in the shower. Do not use plastic chairs as they tend to buckle with fatigue.
Have adequate and accessible lighting available.
Keep a sturdy nightstand next to the bed to keep glasses and other personal items.
Keep the pathway from the bed to the bathroom clear. A LED strip to denote path.
Make sure the bed is the appropriate height to allow for safe transfers.
Use bed rails If required.
Use support rail near bed for safe descent from bed.
Use adjustable backrest if needed.
For frail & bed ridden persons a semi fowler or fowler patient cot is a lot better.
Arrange furniture and other objects so they are not in the way.
Whenever possible use one aid that functions as a seat as well as a mobility aid. Such as a rollator with lockable wheels.
Move low-lying objects such as coffee tables, step stools, etc. that may present a tripping hazard.
Use a walking stick or a walker for greater stability.
When you get out of a car, test the condition of the ground for wetness before standing up and walking.
If getting in & out of the car poses a challenge consider using Turnplus.
Visually mark concrete or wooden edges with non-slip colored tape to avoid tripping.
Keep outdoor steps and walkways in good condition and clear of debris.
Always turn lights on before going into a room.
Have light switches at the top and bottom of stairways and at each end of a hallway.
Replace burned-out bulbs immediately and make sure to use a bulb with the correct power (wattage).
Use night lights in the hallways and bathroom.
Make sure you can safely access lamps and light switches.
Make sure indoor and outdoor walkways are properly lit, especially at night.
Have adequate lighting on the stairs.
Place bright, contrasting colored tape on the top and bottom of steps of stairways.
Install and use secure handrails along the full length of both sides of stairways and hallways.
Place slip-resistant material on bare stairs.
Be alert to pets and children who can pop up in front of or behind you.
Medicines that are strong enough to cure you can also be strong enough to hurt you if they aren’t used right. Make sure you have enough light so you can see what medicine you are taking and ensure that you are taking the right dosage.
Take medicine in the exact amount and on the same schedule as prescribed by your doctor.
Ask your doctor about the right way to take any medicine before you start using it.
Tell your doctor about past problems you have had with medicines, such as rashes, indigestion, dizziness, or a lack of appetite.
Keep a daily record of all the medications, vitamins and supplements that you take. Include prescription and over the counter drugs. Note the name of each medicine, the doctor who prescribed it, the amount you take, and the times of day you take it. Keep a copy in your medicine cabinet and one in your wallet or purse.
Review your medication record with the doctor at every visit and whenever your doctor prescribes new medicine. Your doctor often gets new information about medicines that might be important to you.
Make sure you can read and understand the medication's name and the directions on the container. If the label is hard to read, ask your pharmacist to use large type.
Wear light-colored clothing, use a safety walking jacket (Cocoon) while going out for a walk or for an errand. Carry a torch when going out at night.
Install a telephone within easy reach in sleeping areas and have emergency phone numbers posted nearby in large print.
Wear footwear that are flexible and easily molded to the feet.
Have a daily check-in time with a friend, family member or neighbor by phone. This will alert someone if there is a problem and you are unable to answer the phone.
Always try to see who is at the door before opening it. Look through a peephole or a safe window. Ask any stranger who he or she is, what organization he or she represents and ask them to show their organizational identification. Keep the door locked if you are not sure.
Make sure that locks, doors, and windows are strong and cannot be broken easily.
Use a cane or walker if you need one.
Medical alert wallet card or bracelet - something that identifies hidden medical conditions if an elderly person can’t talk.
A list of prescription medications and dosage amounts.
A list of the names and phone numbers of physicians and emergency contacts.