Seniors prone to household injury due to lack of awareness

New study shows more needs to be done to safeguard homes

TORONTO, December 7, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canadian seniors are vulnerable to dangers within their own homes due to minimal awareness of household perils among them and their loved ones.

The concerning trend was revealed through a recent survey of Canadians that highlighted a minimal awareness of common household risks to seniors and, in turn, little proactivity in addressing them. The survey commissioned by We Care Home Health Services shows only 54 per cent of Canadians correctly identified falling down as the most common household injury among seniors while only one-third (33 per cent) thought that slips in the bath were the most common household peril. However, nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) know someone over the age of 65 who has injured him or herself in a household accident.

Only 34 per cent have removed slipping or tripping hazards from within the home of a senior over the age of 65 and only 39 per cent have arranged the installation of bath rails or seats in the shower or bathtub.

"There's no question that due to the overwhelming lack of awareness about common household hazards for seniors, many of us aren't taking the necessary steps to protect them," says Sue Kelly, Registered Nurse and Director of Health and Wellness for We Care Home Health Services. "We need to be more vigilant when it comes to the safety of our loved ones, but we also need to help them learn how they too can take an active role in preventing injury."

Kelly adds that many seniors are fairly proactive in some respects but fail to recognize some of the less obvious dangers that lurk within the household. Only one in four seniors (25 per cent) have installed bath rails or seats in their shower or bathtub while only 26 per cent have a fire escape plan. Meanwhile, the survey found that less than two-thirds (63 per cent) have a properly installed fire alarm and only 38 per cent have handrails on all stairs.

Kelly notes that many of Canada's senior population can realize a greater level of independence by proactively removing household hazards. "The reality is that as we age, our sense of smell, touch, taste and sound decrease as does our coordination.

The more seniors can do today to prevent common hazards, the longer they'll be able to maintain an independent lifestyle and remain in their home as long as possible."

Falls are currently a major cause of injury among seniors and account for more than half of all injuries suffered by the elderly. Moreover, seniors who are injured from a fall seldom fully recover.

Kelly says these startling statistics were the spur behind We Care's adoption of the Independent Living Guide, which provides seniors and their family members with comprehensive advice on what to be mindful of within the home. The free guide also offers numerous checklists to help seniors identify and take preventative action against the risks in each part of the home.

"There isn't one room of the house that is completely free of hazards," says Kelly. "So we adopted the Independent Living Guide to highlight the less conspicuous dangers and to offer suggestions on how to pre-empt accidents."

For more information, or to get a free copy of the Independent Living Guide, please call 1-855-699-3227 or visit

About the survey

From November 21 to November 22, 2011, an online survey was conducted among 1,165 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.87%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About We Care

We Care Home Health Services, a leading national provider of in-home care and support services with over 50 locations across Canada, provides professional and compassionate care that allows seniors and others to live independently in the comfort of their own homes. We Care employs over 3,000 homecare staff and provides care in over 800 communities across Canada, and has received accreditation through Accreditation Canada within all the regions in which it operates in. For more information, call 1-855-699-3227 or visit