Once you’ve made your loved one's home safer for falls, you should focus on fire hazards, accidental poisoning, and other common dangers. Here’s the short list of the most important items!
1. Emergency Numbers
Post instructions to call 911 for emergencies with your loved one’s address on every phone. A label maker is great for this!
2. Smoke Alarms and Fire Extinguishers
After falls, fires are the second biggest home dangers to seniors. Make sure your loved one has smoke and carbon monoxide alarms installed with working batteries. Put fire extinguishers in the kitchen and bedroom.
3. Kitchen Fires
Cooking fires are a huge burn and death hazard to seniors. Make sure your loved one does not wear loose clothing that can catch fire when they cook. Remind them not to leave the stove top when the burners are lit.
4. Hot WaterTurn down the hot water heater to 120 degrees (“low” setting).
If your loved one smokes, make sure they don't smoke in bed, and that they have good sturdy ashtrays (obviously would be best if they didn’t smoke at all!). Never allow anyone to smoke near oxygen!
6. Electrical Cords and Outlets
Check that all cords and outlets are in good shape and not overloaded. Don’t run any cords under rugs or furniture where they can be damaged.
7. Accidental Overdoses
Make sure your loved one is taking their prescription meds correctly and that any new meds can be taken safely with their old ones (the Kinto Prescription Medications Tool will check for you!). Throw out expired or unlabeled medications to keep them from taking them by accident.
8. Locks and Alarms
Make sure door and window locks are in good shape and are always properly secured. You might like to look into burglar and fire alarm systems that alert emergency services automatically. These can include temperature alarms in case the heating or air conditioning fails.
9. SOS and Fall Alarms
If your loved one lives alone, you might consider getting an alert system that lets them push a button to call for help or one that automatically detects if she's fallen. Most of the time the costs of these systems are not covered by Medicare and other insurance plans, but it's always worth asking.