More accidental deaths occur in the home than on the road – about 3000 a year. Some commonsense and a few helpful products can help save you from becoming part of these statistics.
Staircases need a little caution. A daily total of 1000 people in the UK fall on stairs and steps. Make sure lighting is good, and don’t allow trip hazards, such as loose rugs, or items waiting to be carried up or down stairs…
A newel rail (shown left) fixed to the banister post at the top and bottom of the stairs can provide extra support for anyone whose balance is not great.
A gate across the stairs is a good idea to protect people who are sometimes confused, as well as unsteady on their feet.
A mechanical aid can provide discreet support for anyone who feels a bit unsteady going up or down stairs. The aid shown here consists of a hand grip that fits to a toothed strip which sits under the handrail. It slides along and then locks in place as you lean on it, helping to support you as you ascend or descend. Cheaper than a stairlift, it can be moved on to a new home, or simply removed when no longer required, making it equally suitable for temporary use, following surgery or an accident, for example.
We have a comprehensive section on fall prevention, which includes lots of information about avoiding falls, and what to do if you or someone you care for do have a fall.
You are more likely to fall, not surprisingly, when you get up in the night, and the darkness is disorienting. A low-energy night light can provide just enough illumination to keep you safe.
Shown here is an automatic LED light which provides 30,000 hours of economical background light, switching on automatically when it gets dark.
Gas, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Smoke detectors are a familiar part of most homes, now. If you don’t have one, get one! If you do, remember to check the batteries regularly. If your hearing is impaired, combine the detector with an alarm that flashes a bright light and/or vibrates under the pillow at night.
Carbon monoxide detectors are also inexpensive, and should be installed if you have gas appliances or open fires in your home.
Turners for Keys, Taps, etc
Fumbling with keys on your doorstep on a cold winter’s night can make anyone feel a bit vulnerable. Solutions to this common problem range from high-tech – remote control door locking systems, similar to car central locking – to low-tech key turners which fit onto a Yale type key and provide a comfortable moulded rubber handle to grip and turn more easily.
There is more information about door entry systems here
Inability to turn taps or gas taps on the cooker off quickly when necessary can also be hazardous. As an alternative to replacing taps on the sink, bath or wash basin, you can fit tap turners, which give you more leverage. Similar turners are available to adapt the controls on gas cookers, etc.