Warning: Your Home Could Be Your Land of Doom

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When you think of home, you think of a place of rest, comfort, peace, serenity and conviviality.

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

And older adults, especially those over 65, are often the unfortunate victims of vision loss, poor balance, and cognitive decline.

To prove it, here are some amazing numbers that will make you take a fresh look at your home:

o In England and Wales alone, 7,475 people aged 65 and over died in domestic accidents in 2009, 49% of which 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 seniors, have suffered a fall. -cdc.gov.

Domestic accidents involving older adults have become a matter of great concern to government agencies and regulators because some of these accidents are preventable. But due to complacency, carelessness, or ignorance, they end up in the emergency room, or die young.

To avoid becoming a household accident statistic, these tips are great for you or your loved ones.

1. List all emergency numbers:

Have all contact numbers ready for your children, next of kin, 911, poison control, fire department, your personal doctor, or suicide help center.

Keep this list in your wallet or somewhere safe and easy to access, or in your phone’s contacts list.

If you’re tech-savvy, load up the app on your phone so you can get in touch with them quickly and easily.

2. Check for possible causes of the fall:

Check for frayed rugs, power cords, light stands, rickety dining table and chairs, stepladders, porch welcome rugs, tall cabinets or cupboards, living room extension cords, footstools, etc.

Don’t take it lightly.Even if you can walk around the house with your eyes

Get up close, these can easily trip you up.

In addition to the above, add these to your prevention list:

o sleep on the ground floor if possible;

o Place railings on the walls of your home from living room, kitchen to bedroom;

o fasten the edge of the carpet to the floor, or remove it;

o put shoes and books where they belong;

o Keep food on the kitchen counter so you don’t have to reach for it when you need it.

3. Identify possible ignition sources:

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

Home fires are usually caused by faulty wiring, overloaded electrical sockets, use of poor quality plugs and sockets, unplugged appliances, smoldering cigarette butts, oily rugs left near heat sources, gas not turned off, etc.

To eliminate these potential hazards:

o use certified cords, sockets, plugs and sockets;

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

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

o Keep fire extinguishers in your bedroom, living room and dining room and make sure you know how to use them or keep them fully charged;

o Do not attempt to extinguish an already lit fire. Get out of the car and call 911.

4. Burns:

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

Don’t take it lightly. Contact burns can be fatal if a person over the age of 65 becomes infected.

To avoid this danger,

o Do not drink too much hot drinks;

o Keep your tea or coffee utensils as close together as possible.

o handle your cookware with care;

o Always wear gloves when handling hot items in the kitchen;

o When showering, always turn on the cold water first and then slowly turn on the hot water knob to prevent burns.

5. Is your bathroom safe?

Bathrooms are small, but big when it comes to household accidents.

The accident happened around the toilet, shower and bathtub.

To avoid these risks, be sure to:

o Use non-slip mats;

o Install handrails;

o set the thermostat no higher than 1200F to minimize the risk of fouling;

o use special chairs if getting in and out of toilets and bathtubs is difficult;

o Keep your cell phone nearby so you can call emergency numbers if needed.

6. Remove toxic substances:

Older adults are especially vulnerable to poisoning due to weaker immune systems and lower metabolisms.

Accidental poisoning or overdose can happen if you don’t know enough about your prescribed medicines, or if you take medicines that aren’t right for you.

Storing partially opened cans in the refrigerator for too long can also lead to food poisoning.

Don’t stretch your food budget too hard by eating stale or moldy food. This can also give you food poisoning.

To help avoid this family risk:

o Always wash your hands before handling food;

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

o When buying canned foods, be sure to check their expiration dates;

o Do not store canned goods in partially opened cans;

o Throw away moldy fruit and other food;

About your medicines:

o Always buy from a reputable pharmacy;

o When asking for a prescription, ask your doctor about possible side effects of the other drug you are talking about;

o Never try medicines. Make sure you are taking medicines prescribed by your doctor and not suggested by a friend;

o Don’t take someone else’s medicine just because you have the same medical condition. Different people respond to drugs differently.

Last year I ate something with dinner that caused me severe food poisoning. I have diarrhea from 5am until late afternoon. Every hour on the hour, I have to flush to the toilet to defecate.

It subsided when my daughter and son-in-law, both doctors, gave me IV saline.

Last night, while giving a memorial service for an aunt who died four days ago from a bad fall, I met a young girl who was also giving a memorial service for a neighbor.

She was in her 60s, was home alone, fell and died while using the toilet.

When relatives found her, she was already blue with a large gash on her head.

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

Home security can easily turn into disaster; a sudden fall, stale food, or smoldering cigarette butts on your mattress can easily shorten your retirement as you drift off to sleep.

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