We all need to be aware of the potential dangers we can face while at home, and these dangers can be increased for those with limited mobility, sight or hearing.
Ensuring that smoke detectors are installed can save lives in the event of a fire. Most Fire and Rescue departments in the UK offer free Home Fire Safety Checks and you may also be eligible to have free smoke alarms fitted. The Fire Brigade has run a campaign over the past couple of years called ‘Time to Test’. When you change your clocks twice a year, you can use this as an opportunity to test your smoke detectors. It is important to check that your smoke detectors are working on a regular basis. There are also smoke detectors with visual alerts for those with a hearing impairment.
If the home uses gas, do you have a carbon monoxide detector? Carbon monoxide (CO) can be produced by faulty heaters and you cannot see, taste or smell it. There are a range of detectors available including those with alarms that are audible and/or visual.
Trips and falls can be a danger to all, but especially older people. You can reduce the danger of trips and falls by ensuring all rugs are secured to the floor and any hazards are removed from the floor areas and nothing is left lying on the stairs. In addition, using a pick-up stick or grabber to help pick things up from the floor and putting a letterbox cage over the letterbox on the inside of the door, to prevent post from falling onto the floor can also reduce the risks.
If you are particularly worried about the safety and wellbeing of an older person, there are a range of personal alarms available where the person can activate the alarm themselves, and sensor options for others to monitor activity, or inactivity. You can find further advice from a number of sources including: Which and Age UK.
If we spend just a couple of minutes thinking about Home Safety, we will be able to keep ourselves and others happy, reassured and safe in our own homes.