Living an independent life is very important to many older adults and subsequently, becomes a top priority for their family caretakers. Often, no expense is spared to ensure aging family members have everything they need to stay safe and comfortable in their own home.
But, there is a hidden danger that, if not confronted, can seriously threaten a loved one’s ability to continue an independent lifestyle: fire and burn hazards. According to the American Burn Association, more than one-fourth of all fire deaths and one-third of all residential fire deaths occur in people age 65 and older.
Burn Awareness Week, Feb. 1- Feb. 7 is especially important to us here at Professional Caretakers because many of our clients are prone to fire and burn injuries caused by the physical and cognitive changes associated with aging.
Precautions must be taken to help prevent these injuries in our elderly or disabled family members’ homes. Below we share nine tips that will help you burn proof a home and keep your loved one independent for as long as possible.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms throughout your loved ones home and ensure that they work.
- Create an emergency escape plan.
- Keep a fire extinguisher near the kitchen.
- Keep the home properly lit, including kitchens and bedrooms.
- Keep potential fire sources, like candles, hot plates, and ashtrays away from curtains, furniture, and beds.
- Set the hot water heater to no more than 120 degrees to prevent scald burns.
- Have fuel-burning appliances, furnaces and chimneys inspected by a professional once a year to make sure they are working properly.
- Make sure all walking surfaces are as flat as possible and slip resistant to prevent falls.
- Consider hiring an in-home care specialist to help your loved one with everyday tasks and avoid a burn or fire accident.
Stay tuned to the Professional Caretakers Facebook page, where we will be sharing burn prevention tips all week.
Information from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.