Home safety tips help you age in place

Sometimes trouble lies in items we live with and use every day

Aging in place: Mother and daughter holding hands in living room

As they grow older, more people are aging in place rather than moving to senior living or care facilities. Unfortunately, thousands of people over 65 are treated each year for injuries associated with common household items.

Many of these injuries result from hazards that are easy to overlook, but also easy to fix.

The Good Samaritan Society provides help every day for people who want to live as long as possible in their homes. Here are some of their tips to help you stay safe in your home.

Find a location: Home health accessories and medical equipment from Sanford Health

Medication safety

  • Take your medications exactly as directed. Do not make changes to your prescribed medications without calling your doctor first.
  • Keep a list of your medications with the drug name, dose and how often you need to take them. Update the list each time there is a change. Keep a copy of the list in your wallet for emergencies.
  • Make sure your doctor knows all medications you take. This includes prescriptions, vitamins, herbal supplements and over-the-counter remedies.
  • Make your purchases from a single pharmacy if possible. They can track your medications and let you know of possible side effects.
  • Use a pill planner to manage doses. Seek medical assistance if you cannot manage your medications.
  • Don’t take medications prescribed for someone else.

Bedroom safety

  • Keep a flashlight and a telephone on a bedside table.
  • Use only UL-approved electric blankets. To prevent overheating, do not tuck in or put anything on top of an electric blanket.
  • Sit on the edge of the bed before standing. This will help you avoid becoming dizzy.
  • Keep a cane or walker by the bed.
  • Adjust your bed height to make it easy to get in and out.
  • 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.

Bathroom safety

  • Install grab bars and non-slip mats to help prevent falls in the tub or shower.
  • Reduce the water heater temperature to 120˚F or below to avoid accidental scalding.
  • Use a shower chair.

Fire safety

  • Install smoke detectors and check their batteries regularly.
  • Get a fire extinguisher and learn 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. Do not exceed the UL rating.

Kitchen safety

  • Store often-used items on shelves that are easily accessible. 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.

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Posted In Healthy Living, Senior Services

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