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Improving Home Safety for Seniors

These changes can lead to accidents such as falls, breaks and sprains. The following safety tips are just some of the many ways you can continue to live a healthy and active lifestyle for a very long time.

Secure the Throw Rugs
They may look attractive in the home but throw rugs are a fall hazard. And for an older person, even a minor fall can cause serious injury. Remove rugs and runners that tend to slide or apply double-faced adhesive carpet tape or rubber matting to the backs of them.

Bind Cords Together
Electrical wires connected to electronics in the home are another fall risk if they're in the walkway. Keep these cords bound together and tucked away so that you have a clear, unobstructed path from one place to another.

Do a Battery Check
A carbon monoxide detector is a must for any home. And smoke alarms should be installed outside of each bedroom and the kitchen. Check these batteries frequently and replace them annually – perhaps on a day that's easy to remember, like a birthday or anniversary.

Make a Plan
Emergencies and disasters can strike quickly and without warning, which may force you to evacuate your home. Work out an emergency plan with those in your support network – family, neighbors and friends, then discuss the plan regularly to make sure everyone is on the same page should an emergency occur.

Open the Lines of Communication
A personal emergency response systems (PERS) provides an easy way for an older person to call for help in an emergency. It can be worn around the neck, on a wrist band, on a belt or in a pocket. When the system is activated, the signal goes to a monitoring center where the nature of the situation is determined and help is dispatched, if needed. A PERS allows for peace of mind to those with limited physical abilities. Caregivers can also feel secure in knowing that their friend or family member is well cared for. The El Camino Hospital Health Library & Resource Center offers Lifeline a low-cost emergency response system. Call 650-940-7016 to learn more.

This article first appeared in the March 2015 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.

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