Keep an eye out for the seniors you know this holiday season.
As families gather for holiday celebrations, this is a good opportunity to take a closer look at how the senior in your life is doing. It’s this time of year when families realize their aging loved one may need assistance.
Here are some tips on how you can ensure the safety and independence of your aging loved one.
Scan The Home
Are there stacks of mail, unpaid bills, outdated food, and condiments, or clutter in the walkways? Can your loved one change bedding and do the laundry safely?
Falls Are The Number-One Threat To Seniors
Consider gifting a Life Alert. Some are waterproof, can detect a fall, and have GPS.
Improve Bathroom Safety
Does the senior need assistance to get in and out of the tub, or need help with dressing or grooming? Remove throw rugs, and install grab bars and handheld shower heads. Tub mats and shower chairs can help prevent falls. Toilet risers are great too!
Medication errors are another safety risk. Are medications being taken at the right day and time, and dose? Discard old over-the-counter and prescription medications. Are there barriers to refilling medications such as online ordering, cost, or not being able to connect with the doctor’s office? Medication dispensers can be used to help with reminders and tracking, along with DIY dose packs and automatic containers with audible and visual alerts. Some are Bluetooth enabled so you can monitor from afar.
Make Sure To Have A ‘File of Life’
This is a document that can be posted on the refrigerator with the senior’s name, DOB, preferred hospital, medical providers, medical conditions, allergies, medications, insurance, and emergency contacts. You can purchase one or create a homemade version.
Discuss what the expected and unexpected could look like. These discussions are often difficult; however, having a plan in place. means the senior makes their own choices. Don’t wait until your family is in crisis. Is the plan to stay in their home? Consider senior living options or discuss bringing a caregiving service in to help bridge the gap between the two. Is there an estate plan in place? Who will make medical and financial decisions for the senior if they can’t?
Is The Senior Still Driving?
Have a driving safety discussion. Assessments are available to ensure the senior is still safe to drive. How does the senior get to their car, or clean off the snow? Do they have an automatic starter? Consider asking the senior to schedule appointments in the afternoon to give the ice and snow a chance to melt or be removed. Also, having a cell phone on the road can be a lifesaver!
A Place for You offers a comprehensive home safety assessment. With “A Place That’s Safe Program” we assess the home, provide you with a detailed report of our findings and make recommendations for safety improvements. These are just some of the ways we can help you help your aging loved one maintain their independence and safety. Call us for a more in-depth discussion about how we can help!
Above all else, the holiday season is a great time to spend reminiscing, looking at old photos or home movies, and spending time together as a family. Happy Holidays!