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A Safe Home Keeps you Healthy

The three most common home grown killers, falls - scalds and med-mix-ups are all preventable.  There are several strategies for making your home safe but as a first step slowly walk through your home with an educated eye, looking for the traps to your safety then put in place the following simple and easy to do precautions.

Clear all clutter from pathways, stairs and doorways.  While putting piles of recycling by door may be a good reminder to take it out, it also creates a good obstacle to trip over.  There is no use in saving the environment at a cost to your health.

Most people have a favorite chair and they collect frequently needed items close to hand. Often on a small side table there will be a phone, an address book, possibly a magnifying glass, a mug, a box of tissues, pill bottles and of course the TV remote. All of these items are ready to tumble off and scatter on the floor.  In addition, it is not uncommon to find sitting on the floor (and ready to trap you) things like books, newspapers and knitting or hobby items.  This is a fall waiting to happen.  Collect the small items and store them in a decorative open box.  Put papers, books and hobby items into a magazine holder placed well away from where you walk.  Securely tape electrical and telephone cords to the floor.  Remove scatter rugs or tape down the sides and corners with double-sided tape.

In the kitchen use a cordless kettle.  Keep counters free of loose items so there is space for setting down plates and pots.  Wipe up spills on the floor and counters immediately.  People often use the counter to steady themselves and if their hand slips in a spill they may tumble to the floor.

Check pathways from the bedroom to the bathroom and keep them clear.  It is a good idea to install a night light for that middle of the night dash.

In the bathroom tidy away electrical cords or loose hanging items.  Grab bars are a must for the bath and shower areas.  Use only non-slip mats.  Again, wipe up spills immediately.  There is absolutely no reason why hot water heaters are calibrated higher than 125% (51.66 metric) although most are.  Lowering the temperature protects delicate elderly skin from scalds.  If you do not have control over the hot water heater temperature install scald proof mixing valves.  Don’t worry about the kitchen dishes getting clean – that is what detergents are for and, if necessary, use the sani-wash on the dishwasher.

Medicine mix-ups are more complicated.  Often people don’t tell their doctor all the over-the-counter medicines they use for small physical inconveniences.  Those over the counter medicines have a lot of chemicals, salt and sugar in them which can interfere with your prescriptions medicines.  If your doctor knows what over-the-counter medicines you are taking she or he can tell you a health alternative. Use the same pharmacy always. They can check the record of other prescriptions you are taking and warn of incompatibilities.  Ask them out right if there is any conflict.  If a lot of medicines are being taken ask for bubble packs or buy a dosette.  Medicine schedules are easier to follow with this type if packaging.

I always tell my clients that “a good precaution is never wasted” and these small precautions contribute mightily to your safety.

(This article is an excerpt from a larger article on Falls, Scalds and Med-Mix-ups)

Mary Ellen Tomlinson, Director, Senior Care Options Inc
Phone: 416-932-9941

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is offered for general informational and educational purposes only. Opinions expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily In no way are any of the materials presented meant to be a substitute for professional advice nor should it be construed as such.  Senioropolis Inc. has endeavoured to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the information contained on this website. However, neither it nor the administrator of the site assumes liability whatsoever for any errors or omissions, nor guarantees the accuracy, of the information herein.

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