Home Hazards That Can Make Seniors Sick
Poor housing conditions can lead to many health problems. These problems are particularly dangerous for our seniors who spend much of their time indoors. Poor quality air and water inside the home, for example, can pose serious consequences, such as respiratory issues, diseases, and other chronic ailments. These home hazards can make your beloved senior citizen sick.
Read on to learn how to help make your special senior’s home environment a safe space and free of these seven hazards. Prevention is key. It’s important to identify any potential health risks and learn how to avoid or remove them, especially ones that are not noticeable.
Radon is an odorless, invisible, and tasteless gas. Radon has been identified as a known risk factor for lung cancer. Many homes across the United States have been identified as having radon in their homes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that it comes from the natural decay of uranium found in nearly all soils. It’s easy to purchase a home radon test from your local home improvement store or from various sources on the internet. These tets will warn you if radon levels become hazardous.
Carbon monoxide is an invisible health hazard that can be found in your loved one’s home. Carbon monoxide can most definitely make them sick. In addition to being a colorless, invisible gas, it is also odorless and tasteless. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a condition that requires intense medical treatment. Inhaling carbon monoxide can have side effects such as muscle weakness, headache, blurred vision, and confusion. In more severe cases, carbon monoxide poisoning can also cause loss of consciousness, brain damage, or death. It is vital to make sure your senior’s home has proper ventilation to reduce the opportunity for toxins to build up. You can outfit your senior’s home with carbon monoxide detectors. These detectors can be easily purchased and installed. It’s also important to ensure older sensors are working correctly. Check to see if they need to be replaced.
Mold is a common indoor problem, particularly in humid areas, like Florida. Mold often grows as a result of water leaks in the home. Many kinds of mold do not cause harmful symptoms, but toxic and harmful varieties exist. Our previous older population and people with weakened immune systems or allergies may be susceptible to mold. Mold can cause respiratory illnesses. Be sure to help your aging loved one address mold conditions in the home as soon as possible. Hiring a professional to clean out mold infestations can is the best route to take. It can be a challenging task.
Eek! Rodents and roaches are unsightly in any home. These pests can also bring harmful bacteria and viruses into the home that can make your aging loved one sick. Many seniors are unable to keep their homes clean on their own. Unfortunately, this creates a prime opportunity for pests to invade homes. While visiting your elderly loved one, take note if you see compromised cleanliness or evidence of pests in the home. If pests are spotted in the house, contact a professional exterminator to check the area and remove the unwanted pests. Occasional pest sightings may be a sign of a much larger problem.
Poor water quality
Many people drink filtered or bottled water these days. However, in most homes, tap water is still the standard way to fill your water class. Although most home faucets run water that is safe to drink in the United States, we do occasionally see problems that impact a person’s health. Sometimes older homes that were built with lead pipes can lead to lead poisoning. Houses with wells using dirty filters can invite unwanted minerals, chemicals, and bacteria to invade the home water supply. You can help your loved one be diligent about cleanliness in their home by installing and changing filters regularly. This enhances the quality of the drinking water.
Seniors who suffer from chronic symptoms such as runny nose, watery eyes, coughing, and sneezing while in their homes may be affected by allergens. Identify and remove sources of allergens. They could be emanating from household cleaners or be found in outdoor pollen. You can help your special be more comfortable at home. Think to yourself…has the air filter been changed recently?
Hazardous building materials
Most homes built in recent years avoid using hazardous building materials during construction. However, some older buildings may have been built with dangerous materials such as lead or asbestos. Exposure to these materials can often lead to serious health consequences for our aging population. Contact a home inspector if you suspect your senior has dangerous lead or asbestos levels in their home that is making your senior sick.
The next time you are visiting with your aging loved one, keep an eye out for these seven home hazards. Trust your intuition if something doesn’t seem or feel right. If you can’t check in on your loved one regularly, but you need that peace of mind to know that they are doing well, consider hiring an in-home caregiver. An in-home caregiver can keep an eye out for you and report back if there is a need for concern. In addition, we often get clues as to how their physical and mental health is faring through everyday conversations. Is Dad having difficulty maneuvering around his home? Was Mom able to keep up with the conversation today, or did she struggle? You might notice small changes that could be indicators of more significant issues they are facing as they age.
An in-home caregiver can assist with many of these concerns or offer much-needed companionship. Life can be busy. When you can’t be there to check in on your loved one, it feels good to know that someone else is. Caregivers United helps support your aging parent or special relative by bringing quality care to your loved one at their home. Call (941) 225-0055 to schedule a free in-home consultation or find us on Facebook and Twitter!