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Warning: your home may be your place of doom

When you think of home, what comes to mind is a place of rest, comfort, peace, serenity, and joy.

It is? But did you know that your home may have more than a dozen hidden dangers that can turn it into a fatal place in the blink of an eye?

And older people, especially those over 65, are often unfortunate victims due to poor vision, poor balance, and impaired cognitive functions.

To prove the point, here are some surprising figures that may get you taking a second look at your home:

o In 2009, in England and Wales alone, 7,475 people aged 65 and over died from domestic accidents, of which 49% were due to falls. – rospa.com;

o According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), millions of people over the age of 65, or one in three elderly, suffer falls. – cdc.gov.

Home accidents involving older people have become a major concern for government institutions and regulators because some of them are preventable. But due to complacency, carelessness, or ignorance, they end up in emergency rooms or meet premature death.

To avoid becoming a figure in the home accident statistics, these tips are very helpful to you or your loved ones.

1. List all emergency numbers:

Have all the contact numbers for your children, close relatives, 911, poison control, fire department, your personal physician, or a suicide help center.

Keep the list in your wallet or in a safe and easily accessible place, or in your phone’s contact list.

If you are high-tech savvy, load apps onto your phone so you can get in touch with them quickly and easily.

2. Look for possible sources of drops:

Check for frayed floor rugs, power cords, lamp holders, wobbly dining table chairs, ladders, porch welcome mat, tall cabinets or cupboards, living room extension cords, foot stools, etc.

Don’t take them lightly. Even if you can move around your house with your eyes

Nearby, these can make you trip and fall easily.

In addition to the above, add them to your list of precautions:

o Sleep on the ground floor, if possible;

o Have pot holders along the walls of your home, from the living room, kitchen to your bedroom;

o Secure the edges of the carpet to the floor or remove it;

o Put your shoes and books where they should;

o Keep food on kitchen counters so you don’t have to reach out when you need it.

3. Identify possible sources of fire:

In 2010, 143 people died in the UK due to fire-related accidents.

Home fires are typically caused by faulty electrical wiring, overloaded electrical outlets, use of poor quality plugs and sockets, unplugged appliances, smoking cigarette butts, oily carpets thrown near a heat source, failure to shut off the gas, etc.

To eliminate these potential hazards:

o Use certified cables, plugs, sockets and plugs;

o Turn off appliances before going out or going to bed; properly store flammable items, do not overload the sockets;

o Install smoke alarms in your home and make sure they work;

o Have fire extinguishers in your bedroom, living room and dining room and make sure you know how to use them or that they are always fully charged;

o Do not try to put out a fire if it has already started. Get out there and call 911.

4. Burns and scalds:

Burns and scalds can come from radiators, stoves, kettles, hot baths, or even a cup of hot chocolate that you drink before bed at night.

Don’t take it lightly. Contact burns among people over 65 can be fatal if infected.

To avoid this risk,

o Do not drink hot drinks more than necessary;

o Place the tea or coffee utensils as close to each other as possible.

o Handle your kitchen utensils with extreme care;

o Wear gloves at all times when working with hot items in the kitchen;

o When taking a shower, always turn on the cold water first, before slowly turning the hot water knob to avoid burns.

5. Is your bathroom safe?

Bathrooms, small as they are, are great when it comes to household accidents.

Accidents happen around bathrooms, showers, and bathtubs.

To avoid these risks, be sure to:

o Use non-slip mats;

o Install grab bars;

o Set the thermostat to no more than 1200F to minimize the risk of burns;

o Use special chairs if you have difficulty getting in and out of toilets and bathtubs;

o Have your cell phone close by to dial an emergency number if you need it.

6. Get rid of toxic substances:

Older people are especially prone to poisonings due to a weaker immune system and lower metabolism.

Accidental poisoning or a drug overdose occurs if you do not have adequate knowledge of your prescription medications or if you take medications that are not for you.

Storing partially opened canned goods for too long in the ref can also cause food poisoning.

Don’t overstretch your food budget to eat stale or moldy food. This can also lead to food poisoning.

To help avoid this risk at home:

o Always wash your hands before working around food;

o Avoid recycling food that has been in the reference for more than two days;

o When buying canned goods, always check their expiration dates;

o Do not store canned goods in partially open cans;

o Throw away moldy fruits and other foods;

Regarding your medications:

o Always shop at reputable and trustworthy pharmacies;

o When ordering prescriptions, ask your doctor about possible adverse reactions with other medications you are talking about;

o Never experiment with drugs. Make sure you take what a doctor prescribes, not what a friend suggests;

o Do not take other people’s medications just because you have the same illness. Different people react to medicines differently.

I had something for dinner last year that gave me a severe case of food grogginess. I had diarrhea from 5 in the morning until late in the afternoon. Every hour on the dot, he had to run to the bathroom to unload.

It calmed down when my daughter and son-in-law, both doctors, fed me intravenously with saline.

Last night, while I was attending the wake of an aunt who died four days ago from a severe fall, I met a young woman who was also attending a neighbor’s wake.

She was 60 years old, alone at home, and died from a fall while using the bathroom.

When the relatives found her, she was already bluish, with a large cut on her head.

No matter how safe you feel at home, accidents can happen at the most unexpected times and circumstances.

Home security can easily turn into a disaster; Your retirement days can easily be cut short by a sudden fall, a stale food, or a smoking cigarette butt on your mattress as you slowly drift off to sleep.

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