Safety Tips for Seniors During Fire Prevention Week

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Home Instead Senior Care provides recommended precautions for home fire prevention

In observance of Fire Prevention Week, Home Instead Senior Care wants to help older adults identify potential fire risks in their homes. For family members or family caregivers, Fire Prevention Week is the perfect time to have a conversation about fire safety with aging loved ones, as they may be particularly vulnerable in the event of a fire.

For example, over time, a decrease in sensory skills can make it difficult for seniors to identify signs of a fire. They may not smell natural gas or burning food. Vision impairments can contribute to depth perception issues, increasing risks related to placing flammable items near open flames, such as candles or stovetops.

“As we age, it’s natural that we lose the full-capacity of our senses,” explains Lakelyn Hogan, Gerontologist and Caregiver Advocate at Home Instead Senior Care. “Because their senses can’t protect them like they once could, we must take time for extra precautions to help seniors protect themselves in other ways from fire risks.”

Additional factors that can put seniors at increased risk include memory loss and limited mobility. Memory loss can be a dangerous factor when a senior forgets to turn off the oven, blow out a candle or clean out the lint drawer in the dryer. For those with mobility challenges, they may need assistance to evacuate in the event of a fire, especially for those living in a multilevel dwelling, such as an apartment where elevators will not be in use and they must exit by stairs.

Home Instead Senior Care offers these five tips to help reduce the risk of fire loss in your home or the home of a loved one:

  • Install Senior-Friendly Smoke Alarms – Smoke alarms are imperative in ensuring the safety of a senior in their home. Family members should conduct routine checks on smoke alarms to make sure they are working. Consider installing alarms that use voice-technology to alert of a fire. Hearing a voice may be more distinguishable for a senior than a beeping noise.
  • Use Candle Alternatives – Candles create great fire risks in the home. They are easily forgotten. Wall plug-in lights are a smart alternative to open-flame candles for seniors to decrease the risk of catching nearby objects on fire.
  • Make Fire Extinguishers Accessible – Do not store fire extinguishers in hard-to-reach places or out of sight from the kitchen. Seniors should keep fire extinguishers in easy-to-reach places where they can get them quickly.
  • Keep Outlets Clear – Electric malfunctions are a leading cause of house fires. Make sure to keep flammable items away from outlets. Also, do not plug too many devices into an outlet. This is especially true in the winter months, when electricity use is high and people put up seasonal decorations.
  • Set-up an evacuation plan – For seniors with limited mobility, or those that live alone, establish a plan for evacuation in the event of a fire. Practice that plan to make sure your aging loved one knows how to get out. This may include getting neighbors involved to ensure someone is available and prepared to assist in the event that evacuation becomes necessary.

For more tips on fire-safety, visit https://www.caregiverstress.com/senior-safety.

ABOUT HOME INSTEAD SENIOR CARE

Founded in 1994 in Omaha, Nebraska, the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise network provides personalized care, support and education to enhance the lives of aging adults and their families. Today, the network is the world's leading provider of in-home care services for seniors, with more than 1,200 independently owned and operated franchises that provide more than 80 million hours of care annually throughout the United States and 11 other countries. Local Home Instead Senior Care offices employ approximately 90,000 CAREGiversSM worldwide who provide basic support services that enable seniors to live safely and comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible. Home Instead Senior Care franchise owners partner with clients and their family members to help meet varied individual needs. Services span the care continuum – from providing personal care to specialized Alzheimer’s care and hospice support. Also available are family caregiver education and support resources.

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Dan Wieberg
Home Instead Senior Care
+1 (402) 575-5970
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