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Oklahoma City metro-area agencies help keep seniors safe

Oklahoma City metro-area senior agencies and families can do home safety checks and make senior-friendly modifications.
By Chris Schutz, For The Oklahoman Published: July 23, 2014
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Summer is as good a time as any to make sure the home of a senior loved one is free of hazards that could cause injury from falls, says Robert Morris, who runs a business that offers home care.

Morris and his wife, Traci, are franchise owners of a Home Instead office in Oklahoma City.

Senior care agencies and businesses can make home visits to inspect for potential hazards, Morris said.

The focus is to help clients remain in their own homes, with help if needed, “as long as they would like to be,” he said.

He recommends safety checks by family members or others once a year.

Home Instead’s recommendations for changes vary according to the age and condition of the house and the abilities of the resident and whether they use a walker or wheelchair.

The inspections are usually just a matter of common sense, such as looking for throw rugs or loose railings that can lead to falls and injuries, Morris said. A common problem is hoarding of magazines, books and knickknacks that can create fall hazards.

When there is a fall that causes a broken hip or leg, the person's “health can go downhill from that,” he said.

“The home should be the safest and most comfortable place for aging seniors,” he said. “Any home can be improved.”

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SENIOR SAFETY CHECKLIST

Kitchen

Store sharp knives and other utensils in a rack.

Mark “on” and “off” positions on appliances clearly and with bright colors.

Check expiration dates on food.

Remind the senior to avoid wearing long, loose clothing while cooking on the stove.

Bathroom

Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the tub or shower.

Use nonslip mats in the bathtub or on the shower floor.

Clearly label cold and hot water faucets.

Bedroom

Illuminate the room with a nightlight.

Make sure there is a nightstand next to the bed with a lamp, telephone, clock and space for other items, such as medications.

General safety

Periodically check and change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Exterior doors should have strong, bolted locks and a peephole.

Stairways should be free of objects and have sturdy handrails.

Make sure the garage door is easy to operate.

Keep extension cords and wires out of the path of foot traffic. Make sure the cords are not connected to too many electronics.

Source: Home Instead

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