So senior citizens today are more and more hesitant to leave the safety of their homes. But how safe are the homes that we live in today.
There are many things even at home that can harm us. Burglary, fires, faulty floor work or even a wet floor are just some of the things that can hurt us in the confines of our homes. Elderly people are even more prone to such accidents. This is because ones perception, senses, reflexes and presence of mind decreases as a person grows older. Also senior citizens have a weaker judgement of depth perception (Regnier, 1994). Older people have weaker and brittle bones that make them more vulnerable to accidents. According to the Home Safety Council, there are nearly 20,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits on average each year because of home related accidents. Just by some simple precautions and a few adjustments we can make our homes a much safer place to live in. One out of every five Americans needs help to see, hear, speak, walk, use stairs, or lift objects - and a well-designed space plan can mean the difference between an independent, home-based lifestyle or a severely hampered one (Leibrock, 1994).
Mr. James Hall is a 91 year old widower who lives alone. He is my neighbour and suffers from Alzheimer's disease. A man in such a situation can be prone to many harmful situations so it is important that he takes preventive measures and is extra careful. I visited Mr. Hall at his home in an effort to educate him about home safety. My aim was not only to advise him on how to maintain safety but to also make sure that he remembers it and tries to implement the same in the future.
At first like most people Mr. Hall did not take things serious and probably thought that he has been doing things for over 90 years and what could a person like me really teach him, but I soon changed his mind and managed to get his attention. I started by explaining Mr. Hall of the general safety measures that all houses must have. To keep focus on the topic I used pamphlets that seemed to interest Mr. Hall even more. I know that the pamphlets were effective since Mr. Hall was able to review them in my presence and he also wanted to keep a few of them for future reference. I next began to explain Mr. Hall about the potential dangers that an old man like himself can face especially when living alone. This I realised made him really pay attention and listen. Then I began to talk and explain of safety measures to avoid harmful situations in general after which I got specific about how safety should be maintained in each room. The following are the safety precautions that I advised Mr. Hall to follow. First the general precautions:-
Every telephone in his house should have besides it a list of emergency numbers along with a few of them on speed dial. It would also be advisable to carry a cell phone at all times.
In case of a fire I helped devise an exit plan and also asked to make sure each window can be opened easily from the inside. Smoke detectors must also be installed.
Door handles must be levers and not circular knobs (Tremblay, 2007). Locks must be easy to operate but not easy to brake or pick.
To prevent tripping, door thresholds must be removed or must be low. Also there must not be small rugs or even carpets