There are 48 million adults over age 65 or 15% of the population of the United States. According to the National Fire Prevention Agency, adults over age 65 have the highest risk of death from fire, nearly 3% higher than the average population.
As the Baby Boomer population ages, the number of seniors in the U.S. will increase exponentially. It’s more important than ever for family members and other caregivers to be aware of this risk and take steps to improve safety for the seniors in their lives.
Since seniors are more likely to live in an older home, the first step is to check the wiring, circuit breakers, and outlets to be sure they are up to modern codes. A visit from an electrician will help you determine the status of the home’s electrical system.
Once you’ve taken care of the basics, there are a number of simple checks and fixes that will keep seniors safe. Both the seniors and their family or caregiver should be familiar with how to make these periodic checks.
1. Check Outside Lighting. There should be adequate lighting around stairs, walkways, and entrances to prevent accidents. Options for outdoor lighting range from electric lighting systems to solar or battery powered lights. Another option to consider is motion-sensitive lighting which eliminates the need for turning lights on and off in the dark.
2. Proper Inside Lighting. It’s important for stairs and hallways to be properly lit at all times to prevent falls indoors as well. Bedrooms and living rooms should also be properly lit. Be sure lamps have the proper bulb wattage and check for loose sockets. Consider replacing lamps with switches with touch lamps, which are easier for seniors to use.
3. Smoke Detectors. Detectors older than 10 years should be replaced. Batteries should be replaced once a year. Set a calendar reminder or choose a date you’ll remember, such as Labor Day or Halloween.
4. Overloaded Outlets. Check outlets to ensure they aren’t overloaded. There should only be two items per outlet. Extension cords should only be used temporarily and avoid using multiple outlet plugs.
5. Safe Products. Be sure all electrical products, lamps, extension cords, power surge protectors, etc. are certified by the Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
Keep the seniors in your life safe and call the electricians at JM Mullen for an electrical system evaluation. Our technicians are licensed and experienced. Contact us for an appointment today.