Home Safety

Home Safety

IRDA - Home Safety
Home Safety

Senior Citizens & Safety at Home

As the average life expectancy increases and social values change, a vast majority of our senior population is left without any financial or medical support. Coupled with the fact that older people develop impaired vision and have slower reaction time, they become more prone to accidents and mishaps. A mishap that may merely inconvenience a young person can put an aged person out of commission for a long time.

Here are some hints that could help our senior citizens to reduce the risk of personal injury.

According to The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, falls are the leading cause of injury for people over 65. The likelihood of dying from a fall-related injury increases with age and deteriorating vision.

Vision:

As one ages, physiological changes set in, which impair a number of sensory organs. Similar changes are also seen in the eye (smaller pupils, yellowing of the lens, cataract), which result in failing vision. Thus seniors need more light than young adults.
  • Soft overall lighting is essential for tasks like reading, sewing and taking medicines
  • Night-lamps in areas like bedrooms and bathrooms are essential to prevent falls
  • Head and foot of stairways require more light
  • Light switches should be placed at convenient points such as room entrances
  • Easy to clean and change fixtures should be used
  • Do not block electrical outlets with furniture
  • Avoid pictures or other eye-catchers near stairs
Falls in the bathroom: 

Wet and slippery surfaces, several electrical fixtures and occasional glassware make a dangerous combination.
  • Use non-skid mats over the bathroom floor
  • Install grab-bars around the shower and for the toilet
  • Ensure that there is no sill or threshold between the bathroom and other rooms, to prevent tripping
     
Safety in the living room: 
  • Avoid glass furniture and in case it is unavoidable, use shatter proof glass
  • Arrange furniture so as to provide open passages
  • Keep electrical and telephone cables out of the way
  • Furniture should be easily movable
  • Furniture should not block exits and doorways

Safety in the kitchen: 

The elderly are more at risk in the kitchen, as their skin tends to burn more easily and they may have difficulty in escaping if and when an injury occurs. Moreover, ordinary looking tasks like boiling water, heating food can cause extraordinary risks.

  • Keep all combustible items away from the stove, especially when it is lit
  • Use lightweight pots, pans and bowls
  • Do not use any overhead cabinets that are more than 12 inches deep or more than 72 inches high from the floor level
  • Avoid having storage spaces above stoves and refrigerators
     
Safety in the bedroom
  • Make sure a phone is next to your bed, within arm's reach
  • Keep emergency telephone numbers, hearing aids and spectacles (if necessary) handy as well
  • Never smoke in bed. Make sure that you are alert when you smoke
  • Do not smoke while under the influence of alcohol or if you are taking prescription drugs that can cause drowsiness
  • Never leave smoking materials unattended, and collect them in large, deep ashtrays
  • Check around furniture, especially upholstered furniture, for any discarded or smouldering smoking materials
  • Soak the ashes in the ashtray before discarding them

Contributed by General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC).

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