Senior safety begins at home

Published On: May 08 2012 02:00:25 PM EDT   Updated On: May 21 2012 10:55:34 AM EDT
Elderly man with son

(NewsUSA) - Household accidents can happen at any time and to people of all ages, but the likelihood increases exponentially with age. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, falls are the leading cause of death and serious injury among Americans age 65 and older. Additionally, two-thirds of those who fall will end up doing so again within six months. So, what can you do to ensure that an older loved one stays safe in both their home and yours?

The following safety tips will keep your older loved ones safe in the home:

* Make sure to keep electric cords and small items out of the high-traffic areas of your home. Vision begins to decline later in life, and it can be easy to stumble over hard-to-spot hazards lying on the floor.

* Because the majority of slips and falls take place in the bathroom and around the tub, efforts to improve safety in this area should be a primary point of focus.

* All bath mats, rugs and runners should have slip-resistant backing. Periodically lift all rugs and inspect the backing to see whether it needs to be replaced.

* At older ages, we are much more susceptible to burns from hot water. To prevent this, set the temperature of your water heater below 120 degrees.

* Keep a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen, and make sure it's easily accessible. Check the gauge every month to make sure the extinguisher is still full, and teach seniors the correct way to use it should a house fire ever occur.

* Check all stair railings, both inside and outside the home, to be sure they are safe and secure.