Remember to turn your stove or oven off prior to serving food. (file photo)

Focus on seniors: Safety first in the home

Here is a checklist of steps to take to avoid some surprising household dangers

By Karla Reinhard

You may think your home is the safest place in the world.

Think again, there may be culprits lurking in unexpected places.

A tidy home is the key to safety. Keep all major walkways totally clear. If you’re unsteady on your feet wear shoes or slippers with a good tread. Socks are now available with a non-slip bottom.

Some seniors tend to feel dizzy when first getting up. Just stand still for a moment until you get well balanced before starting to walk. Please, always hold onto the handrail when using stairs. This gives you extra insurance if you should happen to trip on a step.

Screw the caps on all bottles to a comfortable tight position, especially toxic products such as cleaning supplies and detergents. If you have young grandchildren visiting, be sure your cleaning supplies are out of reach or securely tie up your cleaning cupboard.

Most home accidents happen in the kitchen. Believe it or not, it’s wise to keep all your knives very sharp. Accidentally cutting yourself is usually caused by a dull knife slipping.

Purchase potholders or oven mitts that are easy to handle. The new rubber grip kind work well. Keep in mind that the ceramic cook top stove is not part of your regular counter space. It could remain hot for quite some time and has been known to be the source of fires when tea towels or potholders are left there accidentally.

Every home should be equipped with a fire extinguisher and smoke alarm. Have yours been checked lately?

Make it a habit to turn your stove and/or oven to the off position before you serve your food. It takes approximately three weeks to acquire a new habit, and this one is worth the effort.

Whether you prefer showers or baths, it’s so important to have a rubber mat in the tub and a non-slip mat on the outside of your tub or shower stall.

For power outages, ambiance for your home or patio, buy battery-operated candles. Some are made of real wax, have an automatic shut-off and will flicker like a real candle.

While you’re out shopping, invest in some night lights. These require very little power and may keep you from falling if you get up during the night.

Finally, review your night-time check list. Are the doors locked? (actually, it’s wise to keep your doors locked during the day as well) Is the stove off? Is the temperature set for the night? Are your night lights on?

Now you can go to bed, sleep well and wake up refreshed.

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