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Seniors Should Heed Home Safety Cautions

Make sure your water heater is set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding.
Make sure your water heater is set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding.

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June 28, 2011

The effects of aging can make older adults unsteady on their feet. Combine that with a few magazines on the steps, a pot kept on the stove too long or a tangled electrical cord in the hallway and it’s the recipe for disaster. Following certain safety precautions and getting assistance when needed will help keep a senior safe.

Q. As a 78-year-old widow who lives alone, I enjoy keeping a neat, clean home. I’m getting more unsteady on my feet and unsure of myself when it comes to cleaning. Do you have any safety tips for me?

It’s great that you can still play such an active role in maintaining your home. But it’s also important to take extra safety precautions around the house. Following are suggestions from the Home Safety Council and your local Home Instead Senior Care® office:

  • Always keep stairs, steps, landings and all floors clear of clutter.
  • Carry loads you can see over, and keep one hand free to hold banisters and railings.
  • Safely tuck telephone and electrical cords out of walkways.
  • If you need to climb, always use a ladder. (Although, as a senior, it’s best to get someone else to do the climbing.)
  • Follow product label safety recommendations, like wearing gloves and masks, when using harsh products.
  • Do not mix household cleaning products together because their contents could react with dangerous results.
  • Carefully read the labels on all products and medications and separate those that say “Caution,” “Warning,” “Danger” or “Poison.” Empty buckets after use. Store them turned over or upside down.
  • Make sure your water heater is set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding.
  • Keep handy a fire extinguisher and fully stocked first aid kit.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers near every phone in your home.

For additional home safety information and resources, please visit Many women of all ages, as well as men, seek household help to make the most of their energy and free time. Why not consider a little assistance around the home?

A reputable cleaning firm could be just what you need. Here’s an even better idea: Consider hiring a senior care company to assist you around the house. The local Home Instead Senior Care hires CAREGiversSM to go into the homes and communities of seniors to assist with such tasks as light housekeeping, meal preparation, medication reminders, errands and shopping. Your CAREGiver can serve several purposes and assist you in ways you may not have thought about.

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. March 28, 2016 at 11:45 pm | Posted by Vicki Hendrix

    I have found that it is helpful to wear clothes or even an apron with pockets. You can put small items in your pockets & not worry about dropping them. Before I started doing this I would always try to carry more than I should & drop stuff. I did this one time & missed picking up one item and on the way back I slipped on it. Luckily I grabbed hold of a cabinet door & didn't fall. But the best thing I have is a portable shopping cart (about $25 at Walmart) my daughter bought me to carry groceries from the car to the house. I walk with a cane, so I would have to make several trips back & forth. I can't walk very far without stopping so it was a very trying process. Now I also use it to move stuff around in the house. It makes me feel much better not to have to call my daughter to come take me to the store if I don't need but a few items. She still comes once a month & I get all my "heavy" items, but now I can run get other stuff on my own.


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