Friday, April 29, 2022

Home Safety

 I can't even count the number of times that I've instructed patients about Home Safety during my Occupational Therapy career.  Often times, people know what to do but either they choose not to do it or life simply happens.  Either way it's always my hope that we all try to remember that "The Safe Way is The Best Way!".  In this blog entry, I'm going to try to review the basics of fall prevention, random emergency situations, preventing fires, preventing burns, ways to communicate, bathroom safety, and personal safety.  Hopefully, these reminders will help you become safer and more independent.

Fall Prevention

I want to review ways to prevent falls first since the facts regarding falls are alarming to me.  There has been rising injuries, hospitalizations and even deaths related to falls so any amount of awareness and prevention we share has got to be a good thing.  Check out this link by the CDC (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) about falls.

CDC Facts about Falls

Often times we need to question if we even need scatter rugs.  I like to call them throw rugs because they do tend to throw us down if we aren't careful.  But seriously, they will increase our chance of falling because they do not always stay still or one could catch their foot on the edge etc.  Awareness of your surroundings as well as how you feel are keys to reducing your chance of falling.  Try to rest before walking and certainly avoid doing anything if you are dizzy.  Ask yourself if you get dizzy when you turn your head or is it when you get up quickly or is it during other situations.  Be prepared to tell your doctor and perhaps a therapist can help you or maybe something more serious is going on that you need to attend to.

Good shoes can make a big difference.  Make sure your shoes fit properly and have non slip soles.  Shoes with heels can be a challenge.  Try to consider shoes which are more stable to reduce your chance of slipping, tripping and consequently falling and injuring yourself.

When I wrestled, I started tucking in my laces.  Till this day, I still do!  When the laces get loose, at least you don't have to retie them right then to avoid an immediate fall hazard.

That pretty much gives you a good start to being safe.  But seriously, if you find yourself going to the bathroom too often or you don't have a good stream when you do, you men might need to check your prostrate.  Pay attention to your bathroom visits.  Is your urine cloudy? dark? unusual in any way?  Do you have an infection? Change in medications? If you don't know, go talk to your doctor.

Hopefully your steps are of the same size and height.  Often times, we forget to look where we are going or we simply go on auto pilot.  This isn't a problem with clear paths on an even same size step route but if not, you could be headed for a fall.  Either fix the steps or pay attention more!  If not clear, then first remove any obstacles like pets, stray animals, toys, laundry, flower pots or anything that is in the way.  Of course, the rails are an easy thing to use.  Know your limitations.

There are metal rental ramps you can get and even some Churches and other companies do grants and have volunteers that could build one for you.  It never hurts to ask.

"911" can contact anyone you might need in case of emergencies!

Police, Rescue, Firetruck and beyond!

Discuss and practice what you plan to do in case of emergencies of all types.  Fire? Hurricane? Tornado? 

When you cook, avoid long loose sleeves and basically reaching over any heat source.  It doesn't take rocket science to figure this out but we are all guilty of rushing especially for those large holiday meals or dinner parties.  Get organized and plan ahead.  The old method of Stop Drop and Roll definitely works!  Yep, I know from experience messing with a bonfire.

I have lots of old stuff I've obtained over the years that I simply don't want to part with.  One is my old radio.  It's definitely old school because you can plug it in anyway you want which means to plug is polarized etc.  I simply unplug these items when I'm not using.  Power strips are also great but you still can't overload them.

Everyone is different.  I'm always amazed that I get sun burned despite my darker skin tone.  Go figure?  Protect yourself regardless!  When outside, use sun screen.  No one needs cancer!  

These are great points I added here from my powerpoint.  I would add that if you have a generator, please practice its usage before you need it!  Remember, you're power could go out in the middle of the night and the last thing you need to be learning is how to start your generator.  Hopefully, your power will be back on within a couple of hours but if you are in a bad storm area like a hurricane, you never know.

These are all great!  If you still have an old school phone, I recommend calling someone before you go to bed that you can trust.  This is a great check in but also if something happens you can simply press redail.  Of course, times have changed with technology and now you can program your smart phones to call emergency contacts and even more.  Go to your short cuts on your phone and check out all the ways you can program your phone!  If you're a runner or walker or even a cyclist and hiker, I'd get one of those ROADID bands you can wear around your wrist or ankle or even other places.  This will have emergency contacts and even allergies etc that others might need to know if you pass out etc.  Many alarm companies can connect an emergency button from a wrist band or necklace etc.  This is great!  Remember if you get a stroke or something, you may not be able to talk.

Let's face it, typical soap dishes and other holders are not made to support your body weight.  But, that being said, if you are already falling, to be sure anything you grab will at least slow you down!

Bath mats are great! Don't forget to dry yourself completely and avoid running or moving fast around the bathroom where it is slippery and there are many hard unforgiving surfaces!

Honestly, any criminal can find a way in but let's not make it easy on them. Simple devices like these can make a big difference.

I love all my video cameras!  The cool thing is I have phone applications that send notifications, save videos and I can even talk to people no matter where I am! 

Self Defense is definitely something I recommend as well.  I lost count of how many people ask me would it be effective to do a single self defense workshop or how long does it take an average person to earn a Black Belt.  Honestly, any training is better than nothing because much of training is awareness and avoiding conflicts to start with.  As for the average person to earn a Black Belt, an average person can't earn the rank of Black Belt.  It takes lots of discipline, intelligence, athletic ability, emotional stability and so much more.  It takes a long time to really be effective with self defense or any skill.  To be effective, you need to have the muscle memory to be able to react without thinking.  Strength and endurance as well as coordination just doesn't happen over night.  That being all said, I consider martial arts like swimming.  They are life skills that sure you could enjoy the sport aspects but everyone should be able to protect their self and not drown.

These numbers can vary from place to place and could even change.  Remember if unsure, call "911".  There are professionals out there to help you! Please consider calling if you ever need someone.




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