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Free home safety checks to aid area seniors

By Josette Keelor

Home Instead Senior Care in Winchester will offer free home safety checks for area seniors through the end of June.

In recognition of National Safety Month, the national senior care service, which locally serves more than 200 clients in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, plans to check homes to help ensure a safe living environment for area seniors, said Cheryl Strickland, Home Instead of Winchester community services representative.

"It's just our two nurses go in and assess the house," Strickland said. Following a checklist, they remediate tripping hazards like loose throw rugs and electric cords and fix shaky railings or unsafe furniture.

"From the outdoor doormat to the basement, everything," Strickland said.

"This is standard when someone signs up with us," she said, but "this is just something extra we're doing for the community."

A repeat of a program Home Instead has done before, the safety check could take up to half an hour, depending on the size of the home.

Home Instead Senior Care resource website www.caregiverstress.com, claims 85 percent of seniors "have done nothing to prepare their home for aging" and provides a home safety checklist focusing room-by-room attention on lighting, furniture height, access to cabinets and working smoke detectors.

Strickland said a survey by Home Instead determined at least half of the home accidents that resulted in emergency room visits were caused by easy fixes. She said website assessment tools are geared toward adult children who can easily help their parents ensure the safety of their homes.

Home Instead also will host a free Alzheimer's and dementia workshop at its Winchester office from 10 a.m. to noon June 28. Family members will learn techniques for handling challenging behaviors of Alzheimer's patients, activities for encouraging engagement and ways for capturing seniors' life stories and memories.

Home Instead Senior Care of Winchester is located at 174 Garber Lane, Winchester. For more information, call 540-722-8750.

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com

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