Everyone deserves a home in which they can feel comfortable and secure. Unfortunately, more accidents happen in the home than anywhere else, and people over the age of 65 are most at risk of severe injury. In response, Independent Age, the older people’s charity, has launched a new, free advice guide to help older people and their families identify and reduce some of the most common safety risks in their homes.
The free guide, called ‘Home safety: How to spot risks and prevent accidents’, is suitable for people who either own or rent their home, and offers advice about simple and effective ways to tackle some of the most common safety hazards at home. It provides practical information on safety across a range of domestic areas such as fire, electricity, fuel, food and water.
Falls are the most common cause of accidents at home, and almost three-quarters of falls among people aged 65 and over result in arm, leg and shoulder injuries. ‘Home safety’ provides advice and information on minimising the likelihood of having a fall, including the installation of grab rails, and activities which can help improve strength, balance and flexibility.
Susan, 62, from Lincoln, says “I have rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, and I’ve lost strength in my muscles. On my birthday last year, when I went to step out of the shower I slipped and fell back into the bath. I panicked. I knew my neighbours couldn’t hear me scream. For two hours I was stuck in the bath and didn’t have the strength to lift myself up. Finally, I lifted myself out of the bath and levered myself up using the sink. I was deeply shocked but the incident showed me how important personal safety is. I would advise anyone concerned about falling to ask for help.”
Lucy Harmer, Director of Services at Independent Age, says, “Although accidents are rare, there are lots of simple checks you can do to identify hazards and minimise everyday risks around the house. Our new guide, ‘Home safety’, suggests straightforward things you can do to become more safety conscious, and advice on where to find help for staying safe and well at home.”
To support the guide, Independent Age has also developed an interactive online quiz at www.independentage.org/home-safety-quiz, which poses a series of questions testing home safety knowledge, awareness of potential danger areas, and preventive measures.
‘Home safety’ is free to order and download from www.independentage.org/home-safety, or can be ordered for free by calling 0800 319 6789.
To make a donation or find out more about how you can support the work of Independent Age and help older people stay independent, please visit independentage.org.