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Fire Prevention Tips For Today’s Seniors

Fire Prevention Tips For Today’s Seniors

October 6-12 marks this year’s Fire Prevention Week. The week, which was first enacted by President Woodrow Wilson in 1922 and has since been observed on the week of October 9th, is a great reminder of the importance of fire prevention for all of us, but especially for seniors living alone. This is important because an estimated 12,572 Americans aged 65 and older died in fires during a 10-year period. Preventing even one death is worth the effort in terms of making one’s home as safe as possible. Read on to learn more about fire safety tips you should implement:

Maintain and/or Service Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms should be cleaned via dusting or vacuuming at least once yearly. Batteries should also be replaced yearly. All smoke alarms themselves should be replaced once every 10 years. All bedrooms should have a smoke alarm as well as one on every level of a home. If you have are hard of hearing or deaf, get a smoke alarm that uses vibrations or flashing lights to indicate the presence of smoke.

Be Safe in the Kitchen

The kitchen presents the perfect opportunity to create a potential fire hazard. To keep your kitchen as safe as possible, make sure you don’t leave things cooking or boiling on your stove, stay in the room. Also, be sure to turn pot handles towards the back of the stove in order to prevent them from being knocked off.  It’s a good idea to keep a pot lid nearby at all times when you are cooking. This will give you an easy to access tool to use to snuff a fire out should one start in a pan while you are cooking.

Practice Heater Safety

When you leave your home or go to bed, make sure to unplug and turn off any heaters.  Make sure you don’t place anything too close to furnaces, wood stoves, space heaters or radiators. Be sure to buy space heaters that have a safety feature, and automatic shutoff, so if it overheats or tips over, it will turn off. Also, it’s a good idea to have chimneys professionally cleaned each year.

Be Cautious With Open Flames

If you smoke, most sure you only smoke outdoors. If you want to burn candles, make sure they are sturdy and won’t tip over easily. Also, don’t leave them burning while going to another part of the house.

Create a Fire Safety Plan or Escape Route

Create and practice your fire escape route and evacuation plan. Make sure all your windows and doors are operational and pathways are clear of clutter. It’s a good idea to have more than one plan in mind, in case your first escape route is blocked in some way. It’s best to have at least two escape routes out of your home.

Don’t Forget About Your Home’s Wiring

Avoid using extension cords and overloading electrical circuits. Replace any outlets that don’t hold plugs snugly. If you frequently experience blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers, consider having a licensed electrician giving your home’s wiring a once over.

Implement the above tips in your home or the home of your loved one in order to practice fire prevention.



Is Your Loved One Safe Living on Their Own?

Is Your Loved One Safe Living on Their Own?

Making the decision your senior loved one is no longer safe living independently is a difficult one. Of course, you can opt for some solutions like medical life alert devices to keep them on their own for longer. However, there will come a time when they are no longer safe to live alone. Look for the following signs indicating this time has arrived:

Your Loved One is Losing Weight

As surprising as it sounds, seniors suffering with memory or cognitive impairments like Alzheimer’s can simply forget to eat or forget how to prepare food for themselves according to the director of the Duke University’s Family Support Program. This lack of eating will eventually cause noticeable weight loss. Therefore, weight loss is a key indication something might be wrong.

Your Loved One Isn’t Keeping up With Their Bills

If your loved one’s home is cluttered with unopened envelopes, this could indicate they are no longer keeping up with their bills or charitable donations. This is again a sign of cognitive impairment that indicates your loved one simply isn’t noticing things they used to stay on top of when they were in better health.

Your Loved One Isn’t Practicing Good Personal Hygiene

If your loved one previously took pride in their appearance, always making an effort to fix their hair, brush their teeth and get dressed just so, and they now seem unkempt and even somewhat dirty, this could be yet another indication of cognitive problems. Your loved one simply isn’t able to recognize their need for a shower or to stay on top of their personal hygiene.

Your Loved One Starts Getting Lost

We all get turned around from time to when out driving or when walking in unfamiliar areas. However, it indicates a problem when your loved one suddenly forgets how to get to and from places that should be second nature to them. Going to their bank, the store, their doctor, or church and back home should not confuse them. If they begin getting lost when going or coming from familiar locations, this is another red flag that they are reaching the point of not being safe on their own.

Your Loved One’s House is Disorderly

Not every person is a neat freak and keeps their house tidy as a pin. However, if your loved one previously was a stickler for “a place for everything and everything in its place” and now their home is cluttered, dirty, stinky, etc. this can indicate a problem. Also, if you see items that are blatantly out of place in their home. For example, you find a gallon of milk in the dishwasher or their purse in the fridge, this can indicate there is something serious going on.

Realizing it is no longer safe for your loved one to live independently is sad and disheartening. However, when your loved one begins exhibiting the warning signs listed above, you can be sure you have reached this point. Consequently, in order to keep them healthy, safe and thriving through the end of their life, you likely need to move them into another living arrangement. Sooner rather than later.