We pride ourselves in being able to assist people to live independently in their own home for as long as they wish, but unless they arrange for us to be there 24 hours a day, we may not be able to control certain aspects of their safety. Falls are a common accident amongst the elderly, and there may be times when they find themselves a victim of criminals preying on vulnerable people. There are, however, ways of preventing these safety threats. Here is what can be done to stay safe.
WRITE DOWN EMERGENCY NUMBERS
Keep a list of emergency numbers by your phone in clear and large print, so you can read it quickly if afraid or in a hurry. The numbers we recommend you keep visible are:
999 – The main emergency number for police, ambulance, fire brigade, mountain rescue etc. This number should be used only when urgent attendance by the emergency services is required.
101 – The non-emergency number for the police for when for example an immediate response is not necessary.
111 – The non-emergency medical number. This is available nationwide and replaced and expanded on the former NHS Direct service. Use this for illnesses and minor injuries where life isn’t threatened, but you would like some advice on what to do next.
A number of a family or friend who can be with you in a short space of time
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM CRIMINAL ACTIVITY
One of the fears a lot of our clients have is not being able to defend themselves in a dangerous situation. To increase the level of safety and prevent the dangerous situation from happening, we advise these checklists are followed.
Make sure the locks on your doors and windows are in good condition.
Add secondary safety measures like door chains, burgular alarms, light sensors, deadbolt locks.
Draw curtains/blinds at night.
Lock your garage doors.
Don’t hide extra keys under doormats or planters – consider installing a keysafe instead.
Vary your daily routine – don’t be predictable.
Trim trees/shrubs to avoid hiding places.
Keep in touch with your neighbours.
Install a peephole (and use it). Never open the door automatically – check who it is, and if you do not know or expect them, do not let them in.
If somebody asks to use your phone, offer to make the call on their behalf.
Install fire alarms and wear personal alarms.
Ask for ID badges when receiving a visit from a service provider. Our carers will, for example, wear a uniform and a badge that looks like this:
IN THE COMMUNITY…
Do activities in pairs. Ask for a friend or your carer to accompany you to the shop, doctor’s etc.
Carry a small bag/purse – not one which can be easily pulled/grabbed.
Don’t carry cards you don’t need or large sums of cash.
When on public transport, try to sit close to the driver or exit doors.
If out with your car, keep your doors and windows locked.
Don’t leave your bag on the seat next to you – put it under the seat or in the boot.
Don’t pick up hitchhikers.
ON THE PHONE AND ONLINE…
Don’t give out your bank details on the phone.
Destroy personal information before discarding them in the shredder.
Don’t commit to things that seem to good to be true like cheap holidays or investment schemes.
Don’t agree to any home improvement contracts until you have verified the company’s credibility.
Don’t sign anything until you have read it – if you feel more comfortable, ask a friend to read it for you too.
Don’t give money to charity before checking their credibility – it is not rude to refuse or ask them to wait.
Don’t send cash in the mail or allow anyone to pick up a cheque at your home.
Don’t disclose to anyone on the phone whether you are home alone or if you are planning to go out.
According to Age UK, falls are the main cause of disability and the leading cause of death from injury among people aged over 75 in the UK. This is what you can do to stay safe:
Remove trip hazards like rugs and cables. If you have rugs and don’t want to move them, think about taping them to the floor.
Avoid going up and down steep stairs – have a stair lift installed.
Don’t rush to answer the phone – carry a mobile phone instead or let the answerphone get it.
If your flooring is smooth or slippery, wear non-slip shoes.
Rather than using furniture for support when walking, use walking aids. You may wish to ask your care provider to help you get an OT appointment that will advise you on appropriate aids in your home.
Make sure pathways are clear of objects such as shoes, books, clothes and ensure the lighting is suitable.
Put rubber mats in the bathtub to avoid slipping. Have grab bars installed.