How safe are you? As we get older, our safety becomes far more tenuous. We are not as physically, psychologically, or as socially sturdy as we used to be. Life for us is much more fragile, because the end of our lifespan is within reach. That said, there is no better time than the present to review your safety practices for yourself and at home. A quick spot check now just might save you a trip to the emergency room downrange.
We also hope you will focus on your safety because in 1996, The National Safety Council came up with the idea to dedicate every June to safety. “The goal is to remind everyone about the importance of safety every day in our lives,” said Pride PHC Vice President Andy Cruz.
Nearly one-third of adults who live at home accidentally fall at least once a year. In fact, falls are the leading cause of death in older adults. If you have difficulty walking or keeping your balance, this might be a good time to have a healthcare provider give you a special Falls Risk Assessment.
This is a great tool to help you gauge your risk for falling and what can be done to minimize the chance of an unexpected tumble.
Linoleum, tile, and hardwood floors can often get slippery. Now might be the time to consider carpeting your floors and installing hand rails in key places around your home and in your bathrooms. Check to see that all areas of your home are well lit so you can see where you are going with ease.
Clean up the clutter
It might be a good time to clean up and toss out stuff you don’t need or want. Oftentimes, clutter lying around a house can be the ticket to a painful fall. It has been said, “ An uncluttered home is a safe home.”
NO, not alcohol. WATER! Stay hydrated, especially amid this intense Texas heat. Dehydration is one of the summer’s biggest safety risks. Be sure to drink enough fluids throughout the day. Did you know that you can lose a significant amount of fluid in your body just through perspiration? You could become dehydrated and not even know it. Consider keeping a glass of water near you all day. Many people have found adding tasty water flavorings makes staying hydrated more pleasant. Now might be a great time to treat yourself to a fancy water bottle that you can keep with you when you spend time outside this summer. The goal here is to stay hydrated and keep drinking!
Protect your skin
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevevention, fewer than half of older adults don’t protect their skin when they are outside for an hour or more. That bright sun can damage your skin and can also increase your chance of getting skin cancer. Play it safe. Consider limiting your time outside during the summer to the earliest hours of the day or right before the sun has set. Regardless of when you head outside into the heat, make sure you put on plenty of sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside. Also, be sure to wear a wide brimmed hat, wear a loose-fitting long sleeved shirt, and if you can, stay in the shade as much as possible. It’s always better to be sun safe than sorry.
If there’s a fire?
If a fire breaks out, don’t try to put it out yourself. Call 911 for help and make sure you have an escape plan if you need to get out of your house quickly. National Safety Month is also the perfect time to make sure you have enough smoke detectors and that they are in good working order. You also need to change the smoke detector batteries at least once a year.
Don’t be shocked
Check around your house for old appliances that may have exposed wires in the cords. If these wires cannot be repaired, it might be time to toss the appliance in the garbage and replace it. Also, do not plug too many cords into one outlet or extension cord.
Keep track of your medicine
It is a good idea to keep all your prescription medication in its original containers, so you don’t mix up anything you are taking. Be sure to take your medications in well-lit areas of your home so you can clearly see what you are taking. Also, next time you visit your doctor, take along all your medications, so that healthcare providor can review what you are taking. This small task ensures you are taking all your medicines correctly.
“When it comes to safety, don’t take things for granted. Not even the little things. PridePHC wants you to continue leading a healthy and safe life for many years to come.” said Cruz.