Hot Water, Burns, and Safety for Seniors

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Senior Care in Sterling VA

Senior Care in Sterling VATaking a shower can be a great relief. Having that nice, hot water washing over you, especially on a cold night, can be invigorating. For some seniors, though, accidents can happen and burns can occur.

Check the hot water heater.

Even though we are in the middle of winter, actually coming out of winter toward spring, that hot water heater should be checked. It should be checked regularly. Yes, even though it may have been checked in the fall and adjusted, that doesn’t mean everything is the same now. If a hot water heater element is beginning to fail, a person may open up the access panel and turn up the thermostat, not realizing the elements are beginning to weaken.

Sometimes the water can become scalding. Make sure the hot water heater is set at an ideal temperature. Between 107° and 109°F is normally considered the highest temperature the body can be exposed to before burns occur. A setting of 120°F should be maximum for any hot water heater, according to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).

Not only can extreme hot water cause burns, it can cause the senior to flinch.

When a person steps into the shower and is suddenly met with extremely cold or extremely hot water, they might jump back to protect themselves. That’s the natural instinct. If they flinch or jump back, they could slip. When a person of advanced years slips in the tub or shower surround, it increases the risk of a fall. That fall can be devastating, especially if they have weaker bones or land wrong.

Grab bars may certainly help.

When you’re talking about safety for any senior at home, it’s a good idea to consider grab bars. These are bars designed to support the weight of a full grown, healthy adult. Some people confuse them for towel bars, but the way they are anchored and their design are completely different.

Grab bars are anchored into the wall studs. With long bolts properly installed, those grab bars will not rip free from the wall. That means if the senior steps into the shower and if they face extremely hot or cold water coming out of the faucet, and if they shift back suddenly or begin losing their balance, they can hold onto those grab bars and maintain their balance, thus avoiding a potentially devastating fall.

If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Sterling, VA please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.