How to Protect yourself from typical home injuries 

The most common home injuries that occur for the elderly at home include the following:

  • Falls

  • Choking/ Suffication

  • Burns

  • Poisoning 

  • Knife Cuts

 

These forms of injuries are very much accidental and can be quite serious or even fatal depending on the injury, usually however are preventable especially when taking factors such as time and care that has been made in order to protect yourself. 

FALLS

Falls are the most accident prone to anyone of any age, however as you become older your risk of falling increases as well as the injuries you can present. 

 

Leading factors as you get older that contributes to you being more fall prone includes: 

vision problems, weakening of muscles and stiff joints. Both short- term and long - term illnesses can cause unsteadiness on your feet. 

 

Based on an estimation at least one-third of people aged over 65 years and over tend to have a fall one or more times a year. 

 

Injuries that usually occur from a fall includes:

  • Fractures, eg. Hip and Wrist

  • Hip and Shoulder dislocations 

  • Head Injuries

  • Abrasions, bruising and sprains

 

What safety precautions need to made if falls happen to be a common occurrence for you?

 

Each fall should be accessed individually and the circumstance of the fall. If the fall was serious and has lead to future falls in your house that have possibly put a strain on your health or hospitalisations then it would be advised to seek a new home more suitable to your style of living. 

 

It might be that you need to exercise more to get your joints loose and moving. 

 

There might be the fear after a big fall you may have had which can result in you loosing confidence and restrict your activities. 

 

Some things you can change around the house that can be considered fall prevention:

  • Installing grab rails in the bathroom, toilet and entry ways of your home

  • Lay out anti-slip mats in your wet areas e.g.. bathrooms, toilets and Kitchen

  • Wiping up spills as soon as you see one

  • Remove your old rugs or mats thats need to be replaced or repaired 

  • Keep your walkways, corridors clear

  • Wear appropriate footwear

  • Maintain a healthy and active lifestyle to strengthen your muscles and loosen your joints

  • Avoid wearing socks without gripping on the bottom of them

  • Make sure your nightgowns, pants, jackets and coats are not long enough where you can trip

  • Well lit lights around your home, change any lightbulbs that need to be changed.

 

AIRWAY OBSTRUCTION

Choking, suffocation and strangulation are all forms of airway obstructions. Doctors that consult with the elderly recognise that the swallowing action can deteriorate with age. Dryness in the mouth and without saliva, digesting food can be also a challenge for some older adults. It is a known fact that it takes longer for you to be able to swallow as you age. 

 

The foods you should try to avoid eating if you do experience any of these symptoms include chicken with bones, and hard lollies, 

 

Other tips you can try to risk yourself from choking include:

  • Eating more slowly

  • Having less on your plate that is manageable for you to eat 

  • Slicing your pieces thinly

  • Sitting up straight when eating

  • Try not to talk whilst mid bite

BURNS

People aged over 60 years suffer a burn injury significantly higher than any other age bracket. Depending on the burn extents elderly suffer greater illness or even death when exposed to a burn injury. 

 

Lowering your risk of burns by doing the following:

  • Installing smoke alarms and getting them properly tested monthly

  • Organising a Fire Escape Plan

  • Seeking a professional electrician to inspect wiring

  • Having your fireplace and Chimneys cleaned yearly

  • Always have fire extinguishers and fire blankets you and in room needed such as kitchen, bedrooms

  • Wear appropriate gloves and safety glasses when handling chemicals

  • Never use old frayed or damaged electrical cords

  • Try to not smoke in your home as the butt of the smoke may not extinguish properly

  • Have the handles of your pots and pans on the stove top away from the sides of the stove

  • Test them water before you get into the bath or shower

 

POISONING

Poisoning result from the improper use, improper storage or mistaken identity of a medication. Those that take multiple medications are at more increased risk for poisoning. 

 

How can you reduce the risk of poisoning?

  • Keeping a list of all your medications and knowing the dosage and frequency needed for that particular medication

  • Learn about your medications and know of the possible reactions and side effects 

  • Maintain a daily schedule of when you need to take your medications

  • Communicate with your doctor and your pharmacist about any other medications or supplements you may be receiving if they will do any harm to you if taking together