Safety and First Aid
Preventing Adult Falls at home
Falling is one of the most common causes of loss of independence among older adults- but you can take many steps to prevent falls. Use this checklist to take a fall-prevention inventory where you live:
- All rooms
- Keep electrical cords and furniture out of walking paths. Fasten carpets to the floor with tape or tacks. Don’t use throw rugs.
- Make sure that stairways are well-lighted and include sturdy handrails on both sides. Carpet runners should not be loose. If you have low vision, apply bright tape to the first and last steps.
- Install grab handles and nonskid mats inside and just outside your shower and tub and near the toilet. Shower chairs and bath benches minimize the risk of falling.
- Don’t use difficult-to-reach shelves. Never stand on a chair. Use nonskid floor wax, and wipe up spills immediately( or at least immediately place warning or signage or a spill)
- Put a light switch by the door and a lamp by your bed so you don’t have to walk across the room to turn on a light. Plug night lights into electrical outlets in bedrooms, halls and bathrooms.
Avoiding Yardwork Mishaps
Follow these easy steps:
- Save your back
- Choose tools with handles long enough to allow you to work without bending over, or use a garden stool. Don’t lift oversized packages or fertilizer or sod. Use a wheelbarrow or just buy smaller packages.
- Wear sunscreen
- Avoid sunburn by using sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15.
- Protect yourself from insects
- Use insect repellent that contains DEET. Perfume, scented hair spray or lotion attracts stinging insects.
- Wear light-colored, well-fitting clothes
- Bright colors attract insects, too. And loose clothes allow insects to access your skin.
- Choose sensible shoes
- Wear closed-toe, study, nonskid shoes to prevent injuries from lawn mowers.
- Turn off the lawn mower motor
- Then unclog, adjust or fix the equipment. Add fuel before starting the engine or after allowing the motor to cool for several minutes. Don’t smoke.
- Handle chemicals carefully
- Before spraying bug or weed killers, wait for calm weather. Wind can blow chemicals back toward you and irritate your skin. Wear protective goggles, gloves, full-length pants and a long-sleeve shirt.
Healthy Ways to Deal with Stress
Take common clues to stress- headaches, upset stomach, trouble sleeping – seriously. Learn to manage stress with these techniques:
- Change the factors you can
- You may not be able to walk away from a stressful job or home situation, but you can develop new responses to defense anger or conflict. You can also learn to manage your time better with stress-lowering techniques – from developing household responsibilities to just saying no.
- Exercise regularly
- The natural decrease in adrenaline production after exercise may counteract the stress response. Physical activity can relieve symptoms of anxiety. Along with medical care and counseling, exercise can help improve anxiety and depression.
- Learning techniques such as guided imagery, meditation, muscle relaxation and relaxed breathing can help you relax. Your goal is to lower your heart rate and blood pressure while reducing muscle tension. You can also focus on hobbies or activities you find calming, such as reading, listening to music or playing with your pet.
- Find a friend
- Social support can help reduce stress and prolong life.
- Recognize when you need help
- If stress is keeping you from work or leisure activities, talk with your doctor or a specialist in behavioral medicine. Behavioral therapy is one approach that can help you manage your symptoms.
Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep deprivation can lead to forgetfulness and problems in concentration. To sleep better, consider these suggestions:
- Don’t try too hard to sleep
- Read or watch TV until you become drowsy, and then go to your bedroom to fall asleep naturally. Try to maintain a regular time for going to bed and for getting up.
- Keep a regular sleep schedule
- Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Adjust your sleep environment
- Your bedroom should be quiet, dark and cool. Hide the clock if you worry about not sleeping. Don’t use the bed for anything other than sleep and sex.
- Avoid or limit caffeine, smoking and alcohol
- Caffeine is a stimulant. Nicotine also can interfere with sleep. And although alcohol is a depressant and may help you doze off, it can disrupt restful sleep.
- Exercise and stay active
- Regular physical activity and exercise contribute to restful sleep. Aim for 30 minutes or more of exercise on most days. Avoid exercising too close to your bedtime so that it doesn’t interfere with your sleep.
Follow these tips now to better health.