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Tips for Staying Safe at Home During Social Distancing

It is more essential than ever that you know how to keep yourself or loved ones safe in the comfort of their own homes. Most of the United States is under a Safer at Home order due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 

Over three-quarters of American adults who are 50 or older were surveyed, saying they want to remain in their homes. However, homes can be dangerous too. Domestic accidents, such as falls, are one of the most common reasons for visits to the emergency room.

Safer at Home

In the United States, 47 states have a Safer at Home, or Stay-in-Place, order. The measure has been implemented in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. Each state has their own version of the order, but generally, they are the same. 

Businesses that are not considered essential based on the lists released by state governments are required to close or follow strict guidelines, such as keeping six feet apart and not allowing groups larger than 10 to gather.

The Safer at Home order means that people of all ages across the country are spending significantly more time at home than they are used to. Not only is it important to keep yourself safe at home, it is also essential that you make sure your home is safe.

Bathroom safety

There are many steps you can take to make sure that your bathroom is safe for you or your loved one. For seniors, the bathroom can be the most dangerous place in the entire house. It’s extremely easy to slip on wet tile, a dropped bar of soap, or the throw rug in front of the sink.

  • Install grab bars
  • Reorganize supplies
  • Use non-slip surfaces
  • Buy a shower chair

Light safety

In addition to our vision changing for the worst as we age, light becomes a bigger issue. Older eyes have a harder time taking in light, which means as you age, it is crucial that you increase the lighting in your home for your safety. By age 65, people need twice as much light to see as well as they did at age 20.

The following areas can present an increased risk and should be focused on when you are increasing the amount of light available.

  • Stairs: Increase lighting at the top of the stairs and on steps to reduce the risk of a severe fall.
  • Bathroom: Add motion sensor lighting for any late night or early morning bathroom visits.
  • Kitchen: Make sure food preparation areas are well-lit to reduce the chance of cuts or punctures from knives or other cooking tools.
  • Outdoor lighting: Improve your outdoor lighting near the entrances to your home and around parked cars to increase safety and security.

Clutter safety

Clutter is a big concern when it comes to in-home safety. It is crucial that there are clear, wide walking paths throughout the entire home. Make sure that the following items are not blocking any walkways or creating a risk of falling:

  • Cords
  • Lamps
  • Furniture
  • Stack of papers/books
  • Pet supplies
  • Trash cans

There’s a difference between hoarding and clutter, however, both create health issues. Many seniors have stacks of “stuff” lying around the house due to physical limitations that make it harder for them to clean and move unwanted items to the trash or recycle bins.

If this is an issue in your home, consider hiring a cleaning or organizational service to help clean and sort your home and keep you safe.

Smoke and carbon monoxide detector safety 

It is fairly common that people do not think about buying or keeping the batteries updated in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in their homes; though they are inexpensive and vital to every home’s safety.

The time it takes for you to vacate your home in the case of a fire or carbon monoxide is crucial to your survival. Older people are more likely to die in a house fire, despite the fact that they make up a smaller segment of the population.

Make sure that you have detectors installed in your home and keep the batteries updated in order to keep yourself safe.

Medical alert system safety

While all of the safety guidelines mentioned are important, nothing can protect you in your home and everyday life like a medical alert system. In order to prevent injuries and receive immediate help in the case of an emergency, invest in a medical alert system for yourself or your loved one.

Delaying care after an injury can have serious consequences such as:

  • Fractures that can cause tissue damage from extended swelling
  • Head and/or traumatic brain injuries that can cause strokes or bleeding inside the skull
  • Anticoagulant drugs that increase the risk of internal bleeding

After a serious fall, if you are unconscious or physically unable to get help for yourself, you may be trapped if you do not have a medical alert system at home.

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Hannah Verret
Hannah Verret is a Content Developer at Med-Alert Pros in Memphis, TN. Hannah has been working in content creation throughout her entire adult career. When Hannah isn't writing or organizing social media posts, she's spending her time reading and loving on her many pets.

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