Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Seven safety tips to protect seniors living alone

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Parents treasure every minute they spend with their children. However, when children grow older, they move away to explore their own lives as adults. When working from locations that are far away, it becomes challenging to ensure the safety and well-being of parents and other elders in the family. Some situations make it impossible to commute or visit often. Try this list of effective steps to plan ahead and protect seniors.

  1. Stock and store medicines safely: Seniors who have maintained a healthy lifestyle through the years might not require frequent medications. However, for seniors who have a medical condition that requires regular medication, it is convenient to set up automatic prescription refills with a pharmacy that can deliver medicines to their homes. Ensure they are labeled correctly and stored in an easily accessible and safe place.
  2. Select a caregiver carefully: If the aging elder requires help in completing their day-to-day activities, hire a caregiver. While selecting an agency, investigate the caregiver or the agency providing the caregiver and communicate frequently with them. They should be able to provide an account of the work that is being done for the senior.
  3. Communicate regularly: Call aging parents or elders regularly to check with them about their physical and mental well-being. Though health complications are expected to worsen with age, frequent assessment is necessary to prevent a spiraling deterioration. Sometimes, parents are reluctant to share their health problems or troublesome symptoms with their children to avoid alarming them. Bear this in mind while talking to seniors to understand their situation and suggest a medical visit if required. Studies have shown that frequent videos calls help in reducing loneliness among seniors to some extent.
  4. Make the home fall safe: Falls are a major risk for the aging. Over 20% of seniors experience a fall in a year. To prevent falls, ensure passageways are clear of any clutter. Lighting should be appropriate to clearly see obstructions. Stairs should have handrails on both sides to prevent falls while going up or down the stairs. Remove loose wires and cords to avoid tripping. Ensure that bath and shower surfaces are made from non-slip material. Install grab bars next to the toilet and in showers to help in getting up without slipping. Rearrange items in the kitchen to allow easy access to frequently used items. Ideally, store heavier items and things that are used often on lower shelves in the kitchen. Several medical publications have more information on preventing falls.
  5. Store emergency numbers: Make sure emergency numbers are easy to access when required. Store emergency numbers on all phones in the house and on speed dial. Discuss the importance of not neglecting symptoms such as difficulty with breathing and chest pain.
  6. Get a medical alert device: Wearable devices can help seniors easily call emergency numbers with the push of a button. Different devices are available with features such as calling stored numbers, automatic fall detection, and GPS tracking. Choose a device based on the ease of use and the wearer’s preferences.
  7. Install a home security system: Seniors living alone are more prone to break-ins, thefts, or home intrusion. A home security system can deter intruders and alert residents about any unexpected activity. Select home security and surveillance system that is easy to set up and use. For more information, click here.
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