Lack of hazard awareness increases chance of injury

Canadian seniors are vulnerable to dangers within their own homes due to minimal awareness of household perils.

Canadian seniors are vulnerable to dangers within their own homes due to minimal awareness of household perils.

The concerning trend was revealed through a recent survey of Canadians that highlighted a minimal awareness of common household risks to seniors and, in turn, little proactivity in addressing them.

The survey commissioned by We Care Home Health Services shows only 54 per cent of Canadians correctly identified falling down as the most common household injury among seniors while only one-third thought that slips in the bath were the most common household peril. However, 62 per cent know someone over the age of 65 who has injured him or herself in a household accident.

“There’s no question that due to the overwhelming lack of awareness about common household hazards for seniors, many of us aren’t taking the necessary steps to protect them,” said Sue Kelly of We Care Home Health Services. “We need to be more vigilant when it comes to the safety of our loved ones, but we also need to help them learn how they too can take an active role in preventing injury.”

Many seniors are fairly proactive in some respects, but fail to recognize some of the less obvious dangers that lurk within the household, said Kelly.

Only one in four seniors have installed bath rails or seats in their shower or bathtub while only 26 per cent have a fire escape plan. Meanwhile, the survey found that less than two-thirds have a properly installed fire alarm and only 38 per cent have handrails on all stairs.

Many of Canada’s senior population can realize a greater level of independence by proactively removing household hazards.

“The more seniors can do today to prevent common hazards, the longer they’ll be able to maintain an independent lifestyle and remain in their home as long as possible,” said Kelly.