With 90 percent of older Australians wanting to remain in the comfort of their own home for as long as impossible, it’s important to make sure your house is safe, healthy and a practical living environment during the cold season.
Home Instead Senior Care, the national provider of in-home care for older Australians, have created the Making Home Safer for Seniors guide to prepare seniors with practical solutions and tips to foolproof their home.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Home Instead Senior Care Australia says, “As the months get colder, it’s vital that seniors live well at home and protect their health and independence.
“To stay warm, seniors are at a higher risk of incurring injuries, whether it’s tripping over a blanket, burning themselves on heaters or scalding themselves with hot water.
“With this resource, we hope seniors and their loved ones can be better prepared and ensure they are safe and comfortable this winter.”
Seniors are at a greater risk during the winter and often feel the cold more due to a number of factors, including thin skin, lower body mass and medication causing poor circulation and reduced heart rate.
During winter, 40 percent of all deaths by fire happen during winter and almost one in three fire fatalities are people over the age of 50. This statistic emphasises the importance of home safety for elderly people in the cold season.
Some of the suggestions by Home Instead Senior Care cover fire safety, electrical safety, and bathroom and living room safety.
The fire safety tips include checking all heaters, never keeping flammable materials within a metre of a heater, ensuring there are two safe ways to exit a house, and creating a home fire escape plan and practice drill.
Electricity safety suggestions involve checking electric blankets at the start of the season and monitoring the Recalls Australia website for faulty blankets lists, installing electrical trip switches in case an appliance shorts and remembering to switch off electric blankets when not in use.
For bathroom safety, installing grab rails or incorporating a built-in shower seat can provide safety and comfort when showering.
Lastly, living room safety tips include utilising night lights, touch, sound or motion- activated lighting, and using retractable weather shields on doors so they won’t catch along the floor on opening and closing the door while also drafts.