Elderly care for your aging parents, spouse or other loved one includes keeping the home “accident-free”. Falls in particular can have lasting consequences for seniors.
If you’re an experienced caregiver, you have probably already worked on making your home as accident-proof as possible; however, there may be one area that you have overlooked: electrical cords. Cords and cables are everywhere in most homes. They are attached to lamps, phones, fax machines, computers, printers, toasters, televisions, DVD players, blenders, microwaves, vacuum cleaners, and many more everyday items.
Make your home cord-safe.
How can you can help prevent cord-related accidents? Here are some steps that can help.
- Clear the paths. Cords can easily become tripping hazards, so make sure that they are not stretched out across any areas where people walk. If you have to run an extension cord from an outlet to an item, run the cord close against the wall.
- Don’t cover cords up. Running a cord under a rug can be especially dangerous. Since the cord is hidden, it becomes an even likelier tripping hazard. If the cord gets frayed, it could also potentially set the rug on fire.
- A fray is not the way. If any cord, covered or uncovered, becomes frayed, replace it to prevent shocks or fires.
- Nails are out. Securing cords against a wall or baseboard is a good idea; using nails or staples to secure them is not. Sharp objects can damage cords and make shocks or fires more likely. Electrical tape is a better securing option.
- Don’t overwork your cords. Many extension cords have multiple sockets, but there’s still a limit to how many watts a cord can safely accommodate: most 18-gauge extension cords can handle 1250 watts. If you have multiple appliances plugged into a cord, and the combined wattage of the appliances exceeds the maximum allowable amount for that cord, the likelihood of a fire or a blown fuse increases; disconnect some of the items and plug them into another cord or get a cord that can handle higher wattage.
Someday technology may advance to the point that cords are a thing of the past. Until that day, those taking care of elderly individuals need to make sure that cords do not present a danger to their loved ones – or to themselves.