Community Blog

Three Ways to Keep Seniors Safe and Breathing Easier

By Debbie Humphrey

In the Spring and Fall seasons when the time changes, we are reminded to change the batteries in smoke detectors throughout our homes to prevent device failure in an unfortunate event of fire.

Now, I’m a bit taller than average, and I have to get a step stool to reach the smoke detectors in our home. That got me to thinking about seniors, and the importance of keeping seniors safe, especially when it comes to protective alarms.

According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, “Seniors are at particularly high risk for injury and death from residential fires. In fact, people over 65 years of age are three times more likely to die in a residential fire as people younger than 65. Having physical or mental impairments, using chemical substances such as medicines and alcohol, and living with smokers or in substandard housing are some of the risk factors that make older adults more vulnerable to fire injury and death.”

The same is true for another source of concern: carbon monoxide. This colorless, odorless gas forms inconspicuously when natural gas appliances, fireplaces, and other heat sources that burn gas, oil or wood are used. Due to increasing numbers of cases involving carbon monoxide poisoning, carbon monoxide detectors are recommended in residences, especially when these specific risk factors are present.

I think it’s important to review three things that you can do to help keep seniors safe and breathing easier:

  • Change their smoke detector batteries. Considering the stats above, it is safer for a younger family member or friend to help with this, especially if a senior has physical or mental impairments.
  • Determine if carbon monoxide sources are present, and install a carbon monoxide detector in a prominent place near the source of possible leaks. If these detectors are already installed, change the batteries to insure the device doesn’t fail.
  • The same physical and mental limitations that can prevent seniors from checking their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and changing the batteries, may keep them from checking and changing their air system filters. This is not a big job, but it is an important one. Not only will it improve the air quality within the residence, it will also benefit the air handler, because it won’t have to work as hard!

If you live a distance from senior family members and friends, and they could use some help changing the batteries in their alert detectors, contact me at Home Helpers®. We have amazing caregivers who are more than willing to offer various levels of assistance to seniors, no matter what the need.

Home Helpers® proudly serves male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Contact us today to learn more about the many services offered through Home Helpers®. We are Making Life Easier℠ 727.972.2539

Source: Fire Safe Seniors Implementation Guide by the
Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Diesease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA