These days, seniors are staying in their own homes for longer, rather than going into homes. If you have a loved one who wants to retain their independence for longer, then you can help them by making sure their electrics are safe and by installing special equipment if necessary.
Start with a switchboard check
Everything starts here, so make sure your seniors have an up-to-date switchboard with combination safety switches and circuit breakers so they offer protection from shorts and overloads.
Eyesight starts to fail with age and it can happen so gradually that someone might not notice until they fall. Low light makes things worse, so make sure that there’s enough lighting over work surfaces, hobs, stairways, bathrooms and corridors. Staircases need switches at the top and bottom so there’s always light when it’s needed.
You should also aim to replace halogen and incandescent bulbs with LEDs to reduce the risk of fires and also of burns to fingers. LEDs are brilliant for retrofitting projects as you can simply attach the strips or coils wherever you need them to go.
Safety in the kitchen
The kitchen is the place most in-home accidents happen, so you should concentrate here.
Make sure that hobs have their on-and-off knobs on the front so that no-one has to bend over a flame or hot element to change the setting.
Appliances like toasters, irons and kettles should have automatic shut-off features so there’s less risk of fire if they’re left on. Another good idea is an induction hob so that there’s no heat generated once the pans are removed, even if the person forgets to turn the hob off.
More electrical safety tips
Don’t forget about the smoke alarms – there should be alarms on every floor of the house and also in each bedroom.
Make sure there are no wires or cables running along the floor to reduce tripping risks.
If you find mice, possums or rats, have them exterminated ASAP so they have less chance to chew wires.
Check over the leads and plugs of all the person’s appliances to make sure they’re still safe. Many senior people keep their appliances for years – sometimes too long.
You should also check over electric blankets and heating pads, as well as power outlets, to make sure they’re working properly. If any power outlets are warm, smell odd or make a humming noise, then they’ll need to be replaced.