Tag Archives: Senior Safety

Tip of the Week: Give the Gift of Safety and Independence.

This month our tip blogs help you complete your holiday shopping list for the special loved ones on your list. Think outside the gift box this year with gifts that carry special meaning.

Seniors (and everyone else, for that matter) highly value safety and independence. Maintaining personal independence creates a sense of achievement, which for older adults especially can foster a sense of self-worth and well-being. Show your loved ones how much you support them this holiday season by giving the gift of safety and independence:

  • For the bathroom – For seniors with mobility issues or difficulty bending down, bathroom accessories, like bathtub grips, can provide a sense of security when using the shower. The best ones are those that lock over the side of the tub. Make sure to offer to help install these handles for your loved ones.
  • For the kitchen – Cooktops and ranges are most frequently implicated in kitchen accidents. Elderly people are more likely to forget to turn burners off after removing pans, leave food unattended on the burner, or lose track of cooking times. Those who have arthritis or Parkinson’s disease can easily spill food and ignite a fire. So, an induction cooktop, which eliminates many of these issues, is another good, practical gift for your elderly loved ones.
  • For the home – PBE Help offers high quality products and services that keep your elderly loved ones safe both in and out of the home. Our Safe at Home service connects your loved ones to emergency services at the touch of a button 24/7. And our Safe Anywhere service uses the same technology as 911 to help your loved ones stay connected anywhere in the US.

Is there anything better than knowing your loved ones are safe everywhere and at all times?

For more eldercare advice and discussion, join the conversation on social media (LinkedIn and Google+).

Tip of the week: Accessibility

When investigating transportation options there are a few things to consider before making a decision about what type of transportation will best keep your loved one connected to all of her Transportation and Elderlyactivities. In our tip blogs this month, we’ll discuss the more important questions to ask.

Accessibility is one of the biggest factors in solving transportation issues for elderly adults. Often family members are willing to help out, but they may not have a vehicle that can accommodate a wheelchair or they may have a vehicle that sits up too high off of the ground requiring a big step to get into the vehicle. When it comes to transportation accessibility consider the following questions:

  • What is the service area?
  • Are vehicles wheelchair accessible?
  • What time does the service operate?
  • Are door-through-door services provided?
  • Is a reservation needed and how far in advance?
  • Are rides provided in the evenings, on weekends, or on holidays?
  • Are rides provided for social as well as medical or shopping appointments?
  • If others will be riding in the same vehicle, what is the maximum length of the ride?

Follow me on social media (LinkedIn and Google+) for more information on accessibility and other transportation challenges.

 

Tip of the week: Keep your cool.

Did you know that even a small increase in body temperature could have a big effect on the
health of seniors dealing with chronic medical conditions? Heart patients, stroke victims, and overweight seniors, should take special precautions in the heat.

These tips will help you keep your cool in the late summer heat:

  • Staying active is still recommended, but be safe. If you want to venture outside for a walk, make sure to take a friend and head out early in the morning or in the evening after the sun Summer Heat and Elderlyhas started going down.
  • If you don’t have air conditioning at home, seek out cool public spaces during the hottest times of the day (between 11am and 3pm). Shopping malls, movie theaters, coffee shops, and public libraries are all good options.
  • Check with your local community center. Some communities set up special cooling centers during heat waves.
  • In the DC area, contact the DC Office on Aging to find out about programs available to assist seniors with fewer resources to get air conditioning and other safety services installed in their homes.

What is your favorite way to stay cool during the summer? Let me know in the comments below or reach out on LinkedIn.

Tip of the week: Celebrate independence with compassionate caring.

The psychological impact of becoming less independent is often worse than the physical Senior Living Facilities separation of having to make the move to an assisted living facility. To make the transition easier, practice compassionate caring and celebrate the independence your loved one will gain even though it is time to move out of a beloved home.

Assisted living facilities provide the following benefits:

  • Independence from having to worry about indoor and outdoor maintenance of a home.
  • Independence from isolation. There are plenty of opportunities for socialization and entertainment in assisted living communities. Whether it’s a field trip to the city, cocktail hour in the dining hall, or a film screening in the theatre room, soon your loved one will feel like she’s enjoying the good life again.
  • Independence from worrying about getting needed medical assistance during an emergency. Assisted living facilities are staffed with trained professionals ready to help out in an emergency of any kind.

For more information about how to talk to your loved ones about transitioning to an assisted living community, follow me on LinkedIn or Google+.

Tip of the week: Use technology to help your elderly loved ones gain independence.

Before emergency medical monitoring and automatic fall sensors, independent living meant Elderly Independence having close family members who could invite us into their homes. But with the latest technology, living independently, while staying at home has never been more possible. Today’s seniors are living in the golden age of independent living.

Help your loved ones gain independence using the following technology:

  • Home alert systems can help with everything from medication reminders to automatically contacting medical services in the event of an incapacitating accident.
  • Webcams with motion sensors to help you monitor your loved ones from the next room as they recover from heart surgery, for example.
  • Cell phones and Skype allow seniors to connect with family and friends across the miles.

For more on how technology helps seniors become more independent, read this previous post and follow me on LinkedIn.

Tip of the week: Safety and Independence go hand-in-hand.

The key to making it possible for the seniors in your life to continue living at home is simple— Safety Firstthink safety first. Did you know that 40% of nursing home admissions are the result of injuries due to accidental falls?

Avoid a fall suddenly taking away Mom’s independence by taking the proper precautions:

  • Correct uneven floors or steps.
  • Remove obstructions from hallways and floors.
  • Make sure lighting is adequate, especially in hallways and on stairways.
  • Install handrails where needed, for example, in showers and around toilets.
  • Inspect the home for tripping hazards, such as loose carpeting and unsecured rugs.

And for more information on aging with independence, follow me on LinkedIn and Google+.

Tip of the week: Don’t be in the Dark During a Summer Storm.

Tip #2: Check the batteries in your flashlights.

Summer storms commonly cause power outages, which can last anywhere from a few minutes Flashlights in Bad Weatherto several days. When the electricity goes out at night, it can be disorienting, especially for older adults. So, make sure you are prepared for any sudden and widespread loss of electricity.

Don’t leave your loved ones in the dark during storm season:

  • Put flashlights in easy-to-reach places around your home. Night table drawers are a smart place to keep them.
  • Make sure the batteries are fresh and in working order.
  • Make sure everyone in the household knows where the flashlights are kept.

Stay tuned for more weekly safety tips next month!

And for more information on aging with independence, follow me on LinkedIn and Google+.

Tip of the week: Do you have an Emergency Storm Safety Plan?

At PBE, keeping you and your loved ones safe is our first priority. In our new series, we’ll be Bad Weather Safetyrolling out weekly tips for quick and easy actions you can do TODAY to make your family safer.

Tip #1: Make sure your family knows what to do in case of a weather emergency.

Summer is extreme weather season. With the increase in heat and humidity, dangerous thunderstorms, floods, and tornados can pop up quickly. It’s important to make sure the whole family knows what to do in the event of a summer storm emergency.

Make a plan:

  • Find the safe spots in your home. During a tornado, seek shelter in a lower level or internal room (like a bathroom) without windows.
  • Designate at least one meeting place outside of the home in case family members get separated.
  • Practice the plan with the family by running safety drills.
  • Make an emergency kit with items such as a first aid kit, a flashlight, bottled water, non-perishable and easily transportable foods, etc.

Stay tuned for our other weekly safety tips!

And for more information on aging with independence, follow me on LinkedIn and Google+.

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month!

Most of us are familiar with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease: memory loss, difficulty completing familiar tasks, confusion with time or place, decreased or poor judgment, etc. But one serious effect often gets overlooked: how Alzheimer’s impacts caregivers.

Caring for an older adult with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia is a beautiful, selfless Caregivers and the Elderlyexpression of love. But it can also be a thankless job frustrating on the best day and completely overwhelming on the worst. Yet, studies show that caregivers take on their role with little to no training or additional support. All of this means that caregivers, who are often spouses in susceptible years themselves, are at serious risk for emotional, mental, and physical health problems.

In honor of Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month, let’s consider the risks to and preventative measures we can take to protect and support those who care for others.

What are the risks to caregivers?

Stress

Being solely responsible for the health and wellbeing of another 24/7 is stressful. Period. But on top of the pressures of being responsible for the care of another person, caregivers can feel frustrated, angry, drained, guilty, or helpless, especially as the health of their loved one declines. Many caregivers report feeling that they cannot handle their caregiving responsibilities. And, somewhat ironically, chronic stress puts caregivers themselves at increased risk of cognitive decline.

Depression

Caregivers also have higher levels of depression than their non-caregiving peers. Estimates show that between 40 and 70% of caregivers experience clinically significant symptoms of depression (according to pp. 12-37 of a National Consensus Development Conference report). And those feelings of depression can actually increase when families decide to move a loved one with Alzheimer’s to a fulltime assisted living facility. So the negative effects of caregiving may continue even after the burden has been lifted.

Injury

Another serious concern about caregivers is the increased risk of physical injury. Because many caregivers take on their new roles without much or any training, they may unwittingly attempt tasks that are beyond their physical ability. For example, attempting to lift, bathe, or turn one’s spouse could cause a hernia or other serious injury. Additionally, living alone with an Alzheimer’s patient means that in the event the caregiver becomes incapacitated in some way, he or she may not receive emergency assistance in a timely fashion. PBE’s Safe at Home emergency system reduces this risk. Caregivers can wear a fall detection pendant that automatically triggers a call to emergency services in the event of a fall.

Neglecting their own health

Finally, caregivers are often so busy that they neglect their own health. Caregivers are less likely to keep up with annual preventative check-ups and more likely to miss doctors appointments. They often lack the time and energy to prepare proper meals for themselves or exercise. Sleep can be interrupted as well. Also, chronic stress has been associated with an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

If you are a caregiver, make sure that you are aware of the risks and that you take time out for self-care. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Keep in mind that if you’re not healthy, you can’t care for your loved one either.

What can we do to support the caregivers in our lives?

Give them a break

If you know someone caring for a person with Alzheimer’s, you can help by offering to give the caregiver a breather. Why not stop by to cook a healthy meal? Or offer to sit with the Alzheimer’s patient while the caregiver goes for a walk or to see a movie? Even a short break can do a lot to lift everyone’s spirits.

Encourage relaxation techniques

Your loved one ‘in the trenches’ might not realize how important it is to recharge from time to time. Caregivers take up the mantle of “soldiering on” and sometimes need a gentle reminder that relaxation is as important as keeping up with daily tasks. Encourage mom to set aside some time each day (multiple times a day, if possible) to do something just for her. Reading a good book, sitting to pray or meditate, or engaging in her favorite hobby are all great options.

Encourage them to get moving

Physical movement is one of the best ways to improve your mood and reduce stress. Movement increases blood flow and jumpstarts the metabolism. This is an activity that a caregiver can do together with his patient too. There are many exercises that can be done safely while sitting in a chair. That mobility is difficult is no excuse to become completely sedentary.

Offer a hand

Because caregivers are responsible for the care of another, psychologically, it is difficult to ask for help, even if help is desperately needed. Caregivers may be afraid to impose on others or worried that the request will be rejected or resented. So one of the best ways to offer support is simply by showing a willingness to pitch in. Ask the caregiver if they’d like help and in what way you can be most helpful.

Despite the fact that the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on people with Alzheimer’s are so familiar, the effects on family members and especially, caregivers often go unnoticed. This month, let’s make ourselves aware of ALL the risks and take steps to help the caregivers in our lives.

PBE is ready to do our part. Our affordable services make independent living safe for both those being cared for and those providing care. Contact us today.

And for more information on aging with independence, follow me on LinkedIn and Google+.