Seniors: Avoiding Accident Risks

Oct 20th, 2009 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Doing a visual inventory, without commentary, when you visit other homes is a good way to become sensitive to in home risks for older persons. 

Upon entry, unobtrusively look around.  Be aware of traffic flow, throw rugs, furniture or other obstacles which may trip up someone who is unsteady or lacking in quick observation.  Is it relatively easy to find your way to the bath room?  When there are there assistive devices near the toilet, bathtub and/or shower?  Is the lighting adequate?  Are there rugs which impede easy movement? 

If dining, is the seating comfortable and accessible for an older person’s use.  In the kitchen, are there lurking dangers that could create problems for an older person who lived there?

Now, taking this mental inventory is not intended to be inappropriately critical of someone whom you visit, their home, decor, etc.  It is to assist your own sensitivity in equipping your own home to be favorably suited to older persons.  The more you are aware of what may contribute to accidents, the better prepared your home can be to receive them. 

There are many other situations which require review.  Outside, be aware of potential places which could prompt falls. Install, where possible and helpful, banisters or means for steadying oneself.  Look out for misplaced garden tools, toys and other contributors to a tumble.  Be sensitive to creeping vines, imposing limbs or shrubbery that could catch an older person off guard.  Watch for cracks or dislodged rocks along the walkway.  Be sure adequate lighting is available to allow for nighttime passage.  Make off limits any areas which could surprise you and your guests with a fall.   If there are pets, restrain them while older persons are walking and could be accidentally tripped up.  

Most accidents occur in or near the home.  There are many accident potentials when away from home, which requires readiness, quickness, and protection.  Be on the alert constantly.  Something as simple as carrying a bag and trying to maneuver through a doorway can be a threat. Rubber mats can be dislodged, thus creating a barricade to avoid.  Rain or other inclement weather can contribute to unexpected dangers. 

Surely all of these warnings and sensitivities do not intend to discourage activity and involvement.  They are simply means for heading off a very nasty accident or risk of one.  Keep enjoying life, but do so aware of the ways that a very nice day can be easily ruined.



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