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For Seniors, Home Is Where The Harm Is

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One of the most dangerous places for a senior citizen could be what is considered to be the safest place — the home. That’s right. If a home is not made safe for an elderly person it can pose a tremendous threat.

Think about it logically. When young children are being raised many families try to childproof the house. Padding is placed around the fireplace, safety caps are put on the electrical outlets and dangerous substances are put in hard to reach places. We should approach an elderly person the same way.

One of the big things that have to be considered is lighting. If there are not bright lights there is a greater chance for a person to fall.

Another concern is to make certain that throw rugs are removed. Throw rugs can slide along the floor and this is a common cause of falls. Another big worry is the medicine cabinet. There should be a careful inventory of medications that are being taken to reduce the chances of drug interactions or taking the wrong dosage of a drug.

It is also a good idea to see if there are medications that have been left there for years and are expired.

Think about it. We worry about the elderly when they travel and are out and about, but home could pose the greatest risks.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor

More from Dr. Brian McDonough
  • Wendy

    I agree that you have to elderly proof the house like you do for a baby. For my elderly mom we’ve had to put up hand rails in the shower and toilet, we’ve put in non slip stickers on the bathroom floor and in the shower. We’ve cleared the floor of little side tables, rugs.
    We try to phone every day at the same time to ‘check in’ with her on her little cheap Tracfone for seniors, which is the Samsung T155G with big buttons, big letters and hearing aid friendly.
    We’ve told her she must wear this phone around her neck all the time and put it next to her bed when she goes to sleep. If she falls, or battles to breath or has an emergency she can then phone 911 emergency locate assist on her little Tracfone and help will come straight away.
    We had a classic case of a fall happen to my husbands mom where she was lying on the floor for about 14 hours and was in pain and couldn’t move till we found her and the guilt still haunts us today.
    This little Tracfone for seniors only costs $15 and $6.66/month for service so just about all seniors can afford an emergency dial device, it can save their lives.

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