Keeping Older Adults Safe at Home

Keeping Older Adults Safe at Home

September 11, 2018

We hear from the older adults we have a relationship with that they feel more vulnerable now than they ever did in their lives. We know there are good reasons for their fears.

We want to help you feel safe in the place you call home, and as you move through the world during your day. We recommend you consider a medical alert or buddy system, and we also offer these six safety tips below.

Our staff has years of experience in working with older adults on matters of health and safety, but as you consider these guidelines, please note that we do not know your particular situation. Before acting on this advice, contact your physician, a pharmacist, caretaker, or other professional.

Work on your physical fitness. The number one way to protect yourself is to keep your body as strong as possible. If you do not already have a regular exercise routine, create a plan for developing one. We have many wellness programs here at our life plan community for residents and Lifestyle Pass members, but there are also fitness centers in the region, and there are fitness options online, if you are tech savvy. Especially consider gentle workouts such as tai chi or yoga to increase flexibility and strengthen muscles and joints. It is also convenient to walk in your neighborhood, in a local mall, or on a treadmill as you watch your favorite television program. Don’t worry if you can’t stand comfortably; there are many exercise routines that can be done in a chair.

Actively work to prevent falls. In a 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control, falls was listed as the number one risk for seniors. There are many steps you can take to reduce your risk of falls. The first is shifting your mindset so that you force yourself to move more slowly and deliberately when completing tasks. Don’t rush to answer the phone; let the machine get it. Get up slowly if you’ve been lying down so you don’t become dizzy. Take your time, and ensure you are balanced before stepping off. Also, remove scatter rugs from the rooms in your home. Place slip-proof materials in your shower. Use a nightlight in the bathroom, and improve the lighting in hallways and on staircases. Consider railings and grab bars at entrance ways and in the shower. (Our handymen in Glenmeadow at Home can help you install safety equipment! Contact us to learn more.)

Prevent accidental poisoning. Older adults can be at risk of poisoning for reasons that range from carbon monoxide infiltration to taking too much—or the wrong—medication simply because they can’t read the label. Remember that you should never heat your home with your stove, oven, or grill, as they give off deadly carbon monoxide gases. Furnaces can also emit the gas, so it’s wise to have yours serviced annually and to invest in a carbon monoxide detector. Keep all of your medications in their original containers, so you know what’s what, and ask your pharmacist to place large-print labels on your prescriptions. Also, take these medications in good light. If in doubt, check the label before you consume a medication, or feel free to call or visit your local pharmacist.

Be vigilant when out on your daily errands. We live in a safe community, but it is always a good idea to be aware of your personal safety and surroundings when you are out shopping, at medical appointments, or simply visiting family or friends. Park as closely to the entrance as you are able, and be sure to lock your car—and take the keys with you! When you come back to reenter your vehicle, have your keys ready in your hand, and take a peek inside at the back seat to ensure it is vacant.

Protect yourself from fraud and scams. Predators can reach you in so many ways these days. They can steal from you simply by calling your home on the telephone or via your email account. Never, ever give your personal identification information—such as your social security number or banking information—to a stranger who connects with you on the phone or online. Always err on the side of caution. If they tell you they are from your bank, an organization you do business with, or the Internal Revenue Agency, hang up and redial to be sure. No reputable organization will ever seek your personal information over the phone or online. Also be wary of callers who pretend to be a relative in a crisis. Again, tell them you’ll call them right back. Protect your confidential information as well by shredding it; never dispose of it into the trash.

Other healthy habits to consider adopting. Keep emergency contact numbers near the phone, clearly labeled in case a friend or neighbor is making the call on your behalf; get regular check-ups with your primary care physician; use a bed rail; purchase appliances that have auto shut-off features; regularly replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors; install a home security system.

We want to do all we can to make you feel safe in the place you call home, so you can stay there as long as you wish. Please contact us today to see how we might help with a concern you have.


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