Watching your loved one advance in their years can be both heart-warming and heart-rending, especially as your worries of them living alone are increasing as the days go on. Your loved one may not want to move out of their home, as they find themselves perfectly capable of being independent! However, as your loved one starts to deal with the impairments that come along with age, it is important to make sure their everyday living style is adjusted accordingly, avoiding as many accidents as possible. To ease your worrisome thoughts, here are a few suggestions that will make your loved one’s living style safer and easier:
Safety-Proof Home: Make sure all area rugs, if any, are secured to the floor to prevent your loved one from tripping or slipping. Place all commonly used household items where they can be reached easily. If you have to, reconstruct closet shelves, kitchen and bathroom cabinets so they are at a reachable level to avoid the elder having to climb onto a step-stool or chair. The most important place to safety-proof is the bathroom. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people over the age of 85 suffer more than half of their injuries near the toilet. If needed, install railings around the toilet and in the shower. Make sure the bathroom has quality non-slip mats in the shower, by the toilet and by the sink. Cushioned toilet seats and covers should also be installed to prevent any severe injuries in the event that your loved one does fall.
Medicine Precautions: Make sure your loved one’s medication is organized to avoid misuse or confusion. Separate daytime medicine from nighttime medicine etc. Provide your loved one with a list, giving clear instructions when to take certain medications and how much. The list should include all names and doses of each medication. If needed, prepare a weekly schedule that will clarify the days, times, and dosages.
Fire Safety: As your loved one may start to become forgetful, it is important that all fire hazards are avoided. Make sure that all heaters and candles are at least 2 feet away from flammable items such as curtains, blankets, and jackets. Depending on the elder’s state-of -mind, it might be a good idea to replace candles with electronic candles that don’t require the use of fire. Become knowledgeable of the time your loved one goes to bed. Make it a priority to call them to make sure they have blown out candles, turned off space heaters, ovens, stove-tops, etc. If your loved one still cooks, remind them to not wear any loose clothing while cooking.
Emergency Contacts: Make sure your loved one has a list of emergency contacts readily available in the event that an emergency does occur. Make sure the list of contacts is written clearly and large enough for your loved one to see clearly. Depending on the elder’s mobile abilities, the list should be placed somewhere safe― in a nightstand or hung up on the wall so it is easily visible. The list should include the numbers of family members, friends, neighbors, and healthcare providers. Most importantly, the first number on the list should be 911. While 911 is an easy number to remember, it might not be the most obvious choice. Sometimes your loved one doesn’t take into consideration the serious of the situation and might be hesitant to call 911 to avoid worrying family members or causing a “scene”. Seeing 911 on top of the list will remind your loved one that it is ALWAYS ok to call the police.
As long as you and your loved one follow the aforementioned tips, you should be able to sleep soundly knowing all possible safety precautions have been implemented and your loved one is not in danger.
Once the time has come that your loved one cannot live on their own anymore, it is important to educate yourself on the options available to families in New Jersey. The professionals at Kupuna Consulting, Certified Senior Advisors are just a phone call away. To reach our knowledgeable staff, call 732-655-4770.