Senior Helpers: Cautions families to look out for elderly for Home Safety Awareness Month

The home is the second most common location of accidental, fatal injuries

(Madison, WI – June 2011) – One third of all injuries in the United States happen accidentally, at home. Seniors over the age of 70 are among the highest risk group of unintentional home injury, both fatal and non-fatal. Senior Helpers of Madison, one of the leading in-home providers of senior care in the greater Madison area, is urging June to be Home Safety Awareness Month.

“Seniors over the age of 80 are twenty times more likely (than the younger generation) to have an accident at home turn deadly,” says Dennis Fleischer, Owner of Senior Helpers of Madison. “Just like you baby proof your home for an infant, you must take extra steps to provide a safe home environment for your elderly loved one. This isn’t difficult, but often times it takes a trained eye to recognize danger zones for the elderly; that’s how our caregivers can help.”

Top Five Leading Causes of Senior, Accidental Home Injury Death:

1. Falls
2. Fire/Burn
3. Poisoning
4. Natural/Environmental (such as extreme heat/cold or a natural disaster)
5. Choking/Suffocation

Fall Prevention: Falls alone account for 52.5% of all home injury deaths for adults ages 65-74. That percentage spikes by more than 25% for seniors age 85 and older. Below are some vital tips to follow to prevent your senior from taking a fall in or around the home:
* Have handrails on BOTH sides of stairs and grab bars in bathrooms.
–1/3 of households in America with stairs DO NOT have banisters or handrails.
–Only 19% of households in America have grab bars in tubs/showers.
* Have a lot of light at the top and bottom of stairs. Also, keep hallways well lit.
* Paint the bottom basement step white to make it more visible.
* Secure rugs to the floor to prevent tripping.
* Outside – be sure to check steps and walkways for loose bricks, cement or stone.

Fire/Burn Prevention:
* Always stay in the kitchen while cooking. And, roll up your sleeves when cooking/baking.
* Keep things that can burn, such as dishtowels or curtains, at least three feet from the range.
* Test fire alarms monthly. Install fire alarms on every level of your home, specifically near or inside all bedrooms.
* Consider having a fire sprinkler system installed in your home.
* Keep outside grills at least 10 feet away from the house and any bushes.
* Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
* Have chimneys, fireplaces, stoves and central furnaces inspected once a year. Clean as needed. Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace.
* Keep your water heater set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember, seniors have thinner skin than middle-aged adults and can burn more easily.

“Studies show that seniors would much rather live at home versus in a nursing home, so home safety is the key to accident prevention,” says Dennis Fleischer of Senior Helpers of Madison. “Sometimes seniors may take offense if family members try to safety proof their home. That’s why it often makes sense to bring in a third party, like a professional caregiver, to make changes so there are no hard feelings in the family.”

This story affects all seniors and their families in the Madison area. Help us spread the word about Home Safety Awareness month and our tips to keep seniors safe.

Sources: Home Safety Council, State of Home Safety Report, D.C. Firefighters Burn Foundation

About Senior Helpers:

Senior Helpers of Madison connects professional caregivers with seniors who wish to live at home as opposed to a nursing home. The company has 300 franchises in 39 states and one in Canada offering a wide range of personal and companion care services to assist seniors living independently with a strong focus on quality of life for the client and peace of mind for their families. Senior Helpers strives to be the leading companion and personal care provider that offers dependable, consistent and affordable home care.

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