Safety is a topic that’s important for people of all ages, but senior citizens are at an increased risk of injury or death from fire. Creating a safe environment for seniors who live at home with an updated monitoring alarm system and a regularly practiced evacuation plan may save the life of a beloved grandparent, parent or spouse.
Causes of Fire and Harm to Seniors
There are many ways that a senior or elderly resident may come to harm because of fire, and family members may worry constantly about an older relative who lives alone or who might have a habit like leaving the stove on or smoking in bed. Some of the most common causes of death from fire for people over the age of 65 include:
- Cooking machines
- Electrical wiring
- Heating devices
Smoking is the most common cause of fire deaths, followed by heating equipment and electrical issues. Unfortunately, a small number of deaths are also caused intentionally, and there are some deaths where fire was the killer, but the cause is unknown.monitoring alarm system
Unpredictability and Smoking
Smoking used to be portrayed as glamorous in the movies and was glorified by advertisements that suggested all the “cool” people smoked cigarettes. The danger that this terrible habit poses to seniors in the home is so high that it’s the number one cause of death by fire and also causes an extraordinary number of injuries each year.
The best way to reduce the risk of fire in the home is to ensure that no one smokes. However, quitting a habit is often close to impossible for elderly residents who have been lighting up for half a century.
For homes where it’s impossible to be smoke-free, laying down some important guidelines can create a safer environment.
Buy a large ashtray to keep stray embers from escaping onto the carpet Never smoke in bed, in the bedroom or anywhere near blankets and bedcovers Try to avoid smoking at night when it’s easy to fall asleep with a lit cigarette Never smoke if there’s someone in the home who relies on an oxygen tank
Create Visual and Audio Reminders
The elderly are not the only ones who forget to turn off the stove or curling iron. Little notes and signs that help forgetful residents remember to turn off devices that could become fire hazards, such as space heaters, help people of all ages in the home remain safe.
Tip: Remember that the signs shouldn’t be placed too close to the machine since a paper Post-It reminder could fall onto a gas stove and create a fire.
Check on Elderly Friends and Relatives
Elderly family members who live alone and aren’t as ambulatory as they once were should be checked on regularly. During regular visits, it’s a good idea to check on the health and welfare of the home’s residents as well as the various devices and fire and security systems in the home. Make sure items like space heaters are functioning correctly and there aren’t any signs that Mom or Dad has been lighting cigarettes while reading in bed each night.