Elderly adults are disproportionately harmed by house fires when compared to other demographics. Primarily, this is due to physical and mental limitations. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, seniors are more than twice as likely to be injured or suffer fatalities from fires than the rest of the population. If an elderly adult chooses to age in place, family caregivers must work with them on a fire safety plan that addresses multiple concerns to reduce their risk.
The first step is to create a fire evacuation plan for the aging adult to escape from the home in the event of a house fire. The plan should include the best route for the senior to take and what they will need to become mobile. The escape plan should center around their abilities and any assistive devices, from hearing aids to a wheelchair, should be nearby. Family caregivers should work with their aging loved one to create a fire evacuation plan that gets them out of the home in just a few minutes.
Another aspect of fire safety is making sure that early warning systems are working, such as fire alarms and smoke detectors. Twice per year, family caregivers should change batteries and test the smoke detectors to ensure they are in good working order. Aging adults that have poor hearing and don’t sleep with their hearing aids may need a different kind of smoke detector. The hard of hearing can opt for detectors with flashing lights or vibrating versions.
Practicing good fire safety habits can go a long way toward reducing an elderly person’s risk of a house fire. Seniors should refrain from cooking, frying or broiling food for themselves, especially if they tend to be forgetful or get distracted easily. Smokers should not fall asleep with their cigarettes, either in bed or in a recliner. Open flames, such as candles, must be discouraged in a senior’s home, too.
One way to boost fire safety for elderly adults when they want to age in place is to hire a home care provider. These professionals come to the home and assist seniors with all kinds of daily tasks that they may struggle with on their own. From housekeeping to laundry and cooking, home care providers keep seniors safe, comfortable and social. A home care provider can help aging adults avoid fire hazards by being alert and overseeing things like smoking, cooking and more. They are also on hand to assist the aging adult in the event they need to evacuate the home due to a fire. A home care provider is just one facet of an extensive senior-friendly fire safety plan for aging adults.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Columbus, MT, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today at 406-839-2390.