It’s easy to forget about fire safety in the long list of responsibilities that come with caring for an aging adult, but its importance cannot be underestimated.
Family caregivers who want their aging loved ones to age comfortably in place in their own homes need to consider fire safety and make plans that can be adapted to their elderly loved one’s abilities. Due to physical or cognitive challenges, fire safety plans can be hard for family caregivers to create and enforce on their own. Fortunately, there are many resources they can turn to for help.
Local Fire Departments
Many local fire departments have access to information that helps families come up with fire safety plans for all kinds of homes and their occupants. Most will have detailed information on elderly adults and fire safety plans. Because seniors are more than twice as likely to suffer injuries or fatalities from house fires, fire safety agencies have a lot of guidance for those trying to make aging adults safer in their homes.
For example, the fire department may have some tips about preventing house fires in the first place, particularly when it comes to seniors. From smoking in bed, misusing space heaters and forgetting they’ve left something on the stove, seniors can inadvertently cause house fires due to their physical or cognitive health issues. Armed with ideas and recommendations, family caregivers can help implement fire prevention and fire safety plans.
There are numerous products sold online that can assist family caregivers in creating a senior-friendly fire safety plan. For example, the most common smoke detectors are those that make noise. However, if an elderly person is hard of hearing or deaf, they would miss that early warning. Family caregivers can purchase and install smoke detectors that utilize a strobe light or even cause a bed or chair to vibrate when it detects smoke. There are other devices, from kitchen tools to security alerts, that can boost a fire safety plan for seniors.
Home Care Providers
When a family caregiver’s biggest worry is that their aging loved one may not be able to prevent a house fire or whether they can evacuate properly, they can turn to home care providers. These professionals give in-home care to seniors that are unable to complete many daily tasks on their own. If the elderly adults have a hard time keeping safe, healthy and comfortable, then home care providers can oversee their daily care. This includes fire safety, fire prevention and being on hand for any emergencies. If family caregivers have noted some near misses when it comes to fire hazards or careless actions from their elderly loved ones, it may be time to hire a home care provider.
Many elderly adults want to age in place in their own homes, but may be confronted with the realities of their inability to care for themselves, including actively preventing fire hazards and knowing what to do in the event of an emergency.