Electrical Safety for the Elderly

You might have noticed we always stress safety. It only makes sense: electricity is a powerful force that can cause fires, shocks, and death. Taking it seriously is absolutely paramount, especially for electrical professionals.

You should take electricity seriously, too. One way to protect your home and family is to figure out you need to update your electrical system. If you see these signs of trouble, get them fixed and upgrade if needed:

Signs You Need to Fix or Upgrade Your Electrical System

  • You have aluminum wiring (you want copper)
  • You get a shock when you plug in a cord
  • Fuses are always blowing or breakers constantly tripping
  • Lights flicker or dim
  • Light bulbs frequently burn out
  • Buzzing sounds
  • Burning smells

In addition to checking for these problems, you should also check a few things to make sure they’re working correctly:

Electrical Devices to Check On for Safety

  • Start with your fuse box. It should have a main switch and fuses or circuit breakers. It should NOT have a wooden back, cast iron switches, or what looks like a mix of different fuse boxes.
  • Next, inspect your lights for curled labels, discoloration or scorching. These are signs of overheating. If you see any signs of cracking or burn marks around a light, replace it immediately. If the new light shows signs of overheating, call in an electrician to determine the real problem.
  • Your cables should be in good condition. Cuts, damage, or signs of excessive wear and tear mean they might need replacing. Avoid spreading cables across the floor or under carpets and rugs. This could make people, especially older folks, trip and fall. If the cable is cut or frayed, you could be looking at a potential fire, too.
  • Check the smoke alarm by pressing the ‘Test’ button. If you or your parents don’t have a smoke alarm, get one.

If you have any of those problems, the good news is you can update your system to make your home safer. Unfortunately, you can’t just update yourself (or your parents). It would be nice if you could because getting old can be a safety challenge. Unfortunately, it’s a simple fact of life that the risk of an electrical accident increases as you get older.

If you’re getting up there or you’re worried about your parents, there are a few things to do improve your electrical safety. These are in addition to the list of things listed earlier in this blog.

How to improve electrical safety for older people

  • Many older folks seem to be cold all the time. That’s actually because our metabolic rate decreases as we age. We’re just not capable of generating enough heat to keep us warm when we get older. Not only that, but our skin thins out with age, too. What does this have to electrical safety? Well, if we’re cold, we use electric blankets.Unfortunately, a damaged electric blanket can cause fires. If your blanket is over ten years old, buy a new one and never use an electric blanket if:
    • It’s wet or creased
    • It shows scorch marks or any other sign of damage
    • You can smell burning or hear a buzzing noise when you turn it on.
    • Your hands or feet are wet.
    • And never used an electric blanket with a hot water bottle
  • Never store flammable materials in the same place you have your fuse box or meter.
  • Check extension cords, phone charger wires, or anything someone could trip over. Tripping over electrical wires is especially dangerous for older people.

Taking electrical safety steps like these aren’t just helpful for older family members–they’ll help keep everyone safe. If you have more questions about electrical safety, feel free to get in touch with Early Bird Electric. We’re always happy to help you understand your electricity a little better.