Each year, thousands of people over 65 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with items in their home that they use every day. Many of these injuries result from hazards that are easy to overlook. Fortunately, they’re easy to fix.
Read our tips for staying safe at home.
- Take your medications exactly as your doctor prescribes and as the bottle instructs. Do not make any changes to your medications without calling your doctor first.
- Keep a list of your medications with the drug name, dose and how often to take them. Update the list each time you have a medication change.
- Put a copy of your medication list in your wallet in case you need emergency medical care.
- Make sure your doctor is aware of all the medications you are taking, including prescriptions, vitamins, herbal supplements and over-the-counter medications.
- When you can, purchase all your medications from one pharmacy. They can help you track your medications and let you know of any possible side effects.
- If you’re getting dosage times and days confused, use a pill planner to set up your medications. For questions about how to use a pill planner, ask your pharmacy.
- Seek medical assistance if you can’t manage your medications.
- Don’t take medications prescribed for someone else. This could have dangerous consequences for your health.
- Keep a flashlight and a telephone on your bedside table.
- Use only UL-approved electric blankets. To prevent overheating, do not tuck or put anything on top of your electric blanket.
- Before standing, sit on the edge of your bed to avoid becoming dizzy.
- Keep a cane or walker by your bed.
- Adjust the height of your bed so it’s easy to get in and out of.
- Use nightlights to illuminate doorways and pathways to the bathroom and kitchen.
- Keep walkways clear of electrical cords, loose rug edges and protruding chairs or tables.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector.
- Help prevent falls in the tub or shower by installing grab bars and non-slip mats.
- Reduce the water heater temperature to 120˚F or lower to avoid accidental scalding.
- Use a shower chair.
- Install smoke detectors and check their batteries regularly.
- Get a fire extinguisher and make sure you know how to use it.
- Make a fire exit plan.
- Use extreme caution with portable heaters.
- Unplug appliances when not in use.
- Use extension cords with caution and do not exceed the UL rating.
- Store items you use frequently on shelves that are easy to access so you can avoid reaching overhead or bending low.
- Place the microwave on a counter or table for easy access.
- Wear rubber-soled shoes to prevent slipping.
- Clearly mark the “off” position on the stove or range.
For extra assistance at home, the Good Samaritan Society has home health services that can help keep clients safe at home.
- Bathing assistance
- Disease or symptom management
- In-home safety assessment
- Medication management
- Wound care
- And more