Did you know June is National Safety Month? It is also National Iced Tea Month, National Zoo and Aquarium Month, National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, and … The next few weeks we are going to look at some of these national emphasis months and find ways to celebrate while confined indoors as we explore some new ideas.
For today, let’s tackle National Safety Month for caregiver tips. This will begin to sound more like work than fun; however, be sure to read the end for ways to celebrate! As you inspect your environment for safety issues, make it a journey, not a work detail. This will seem very over-simplified to some; even a little silly to others. Depending on who you are caring for, it can be fun as you include them.
Here are some areas to check for safety this month:
- Are there steps in the home or outside? Are they in good repair? Free of clutter? Adequate handrails? Are residents (young and old) protected from possible falls?
- Are there “throw rugs” in the home? These are aptly named—enough said! If they must be used, make sure they are large and heavy enough to stay put. Consider double carpet tape to keep them in place if needed. With Mother, I had to have runners on the floor; I told her it was because “she leaked”. I often stitched them together to make a runner for her. She loved her private walkway to the bathroom.
- Electric outlets. Are there adequate outlets to handle the additional equipment you may need to care for others in the home? Do you have too many things plugged in to one place? Can you move some of the equipment elsewhere? Do you need a surge protector, or to replace an existing one?
- Windows and screens. Are they in good repair with adequate locks on them? Do you have good blinds for nighttime?
- Cabinets, shelving units and desks. Are they installed properly? Are desks or free-standing shelving units too top heavy? Are they cluttered or filled with unsafe items (scissors or letter openers or liquids can be a problem for some.)
- Faucets and showers. Is the water easy to control? Does the temperature need to be turned down to avoid burns?
- Wall hangings over chairs or beds. Do you have heavy mirrors or pictures hanging where little hands or curious adults can cause them to fall? When I noticed Mother could reach behind her and feel the large oval mirror on the wall above her head, I quietly moved it the next day. It was an accident waiting to happen.
Wow! That all sounds like work to me! How can we celebrate all this “extra stuff” to be responsible for? When you can, let your family know what you are doing during National Safety Month to improve conditions around the home. If you have little ones, let them be a part of discovering potential unsafe surroundings. Make it a contest to see who can spot unsafe places. Find coloring books (for young and old) of homes and families.
The plan I like best is to make a big, colorful list at the beginning of the month of areas that need explored for safety issues. Mark off those you deal with and plan a “June Safety Month” celebration at the end of the month with summer treats for all.
Now, if you are a caregiver in someone else’s home, you may wish to simply share this article with them. As homemakers and caregivers, we have a responsibility to help others be safe and avoid accidents when possible.
Have a safe and happy summer, enjoy God’s gift of each new day; let me hear from you.
Can’t wait ’til you see the next letter … because we will have fun with “June is National … “, I’m not telling you yet!