It’s no surprise that seniors face more safety risks than the younger generation. Physical and mental decline can make it much harder for seniors to identify and respond to danger, especially fire. For those choosing to live on in their own homes, the safety risks increase as mobility decreases.
The good news is that by helping our loved ones understand the risks, we can also help them avoid them.
Your No1 priority: identify the potential fire hazards.
When assessing risk, you need to know what you’re up against! The most common causes of fire in senior residents own homes are:
- Cooking – the top cause of fire injuries among older adults.
- Smoking – especially smoking in bed.
- Free-standing heaters – usually when placed too close to furniture, beds or curtains.
- Electric blankets – when left on for longer than necessary.
- Old electrical appliances – prone to catching fire.
Prevention is key
Nearly all risks can be managed with the right planning and precautions. So, take a walk around your loved one’s home at their pace, and bearing in mind their level of mobility and mental awareness. You might be able to climb three steps in three second, and remember where the emergency flashlight is kept, but your senior relative may not.
Take a look at potential fire hazards that already exist, such as fireplaces, and note how the house is constructed. Is there a lot of wood in its construction, for example?
Building for safety
The construction of all our The Manor Village senior living communities is an issue we take extremely seriously. All our buildings are built in non-combustible steel and concrete, making the most of superior architecture and modern construction techniques to provide Residents and families with additional peace of mind. There are smoke detectors and sprinkler systems through the building, and an emergency response system should a senior spot a fire and need to tell someone quickly.
When it comes to fire and seniors, almost every fire officer will say the same thing: “Get out, stay out, and call 911”.
So, in preparation for an emergency:
- Identify two available escape routes, and walk them with your loved ones regularly.
- Place flashlights in key locations, such as beside a favourite chair or in the kitchen.
- Place a telephone beside the bed, along with slippers, house keys, and eyeglasses.
- Keep hallways and stairs uncluttered.
In the case of fire, remind seniors to always call 911 from a neighbour’s house and not from inside their own home. (Dialing 911 from home is only advisable if leaving the building safely is impossible).
Fire safety and evacuation plans at The Manor Village
All Manor Village Life Centers comply with The Fire Code so you can rest assured we have all the necessary fire prevention measures in place. For your peace of mind, our evacuation plans, fire alarms and other fire safety equipment are tested on a regular basis. In addition, for Residents with serious mobility issues, we prepare personalized evacuation plans. These plans are designed to accommodate the unique needs of the individual and our staff are trained to assist in their execution.
Smoke detectors should be installed on each and every level of the home, and outside every bedroom. Each smoke alarm should be tested monthly and the battery replaced twice a year, unless there is a long-life battery built into the alarm. Flashing or vibrating smoke alarms are best for seniors who are hard of hearing.
At The Manor Village, there are smoke detectors and sprinkler systems through our buildings, and an emergency response system should a senior spot a fire and need to tell someone quickly.
Mount a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, and check the pressure gauge monthly. Clean the exhaust hood and the duct over the stove regularly. A timer is a useful reminder to seniors to turn off the oven or burners when cooking is complete. Consider helping with meal preparation or suggest having meals delivered.
Giving up smoking altogether is, of course, the ideal. Alternatively, deep, non-tip ashtrays will help prevent cigarettes from falling out and potentially starting a fire. As an additional precaution, ash should be soaked in water before discarding. Always avoid smoking in bed.
Prevent fire by positioning heaters at least 3 feet away from anything flammable. Replace old appliances or check regularly and thoroughly for frayed wires. Never leave electric blankets on overnight.
Taking the stress out of senior safety
Are you concerned about a loved one’s safety at home? Or maybe you’re considering a change to your own living arrangements? Why not book a personalized visit to any of our senior living communities in Calgary, or in London ON. See for yourself how we discreetly install essential safety measures within the warmth and friendly atmosphere of our senior living communities.