Seniors Staying Alone: A Few Tips to Make Things Easier

We’ve talked about Winter Hazards for Seniors in our Articles:

Further on the subject of Senior safety is general mobility and slips, trips, and falls… especially for seniors that are alone, with no full time caregivers.

Seniors Staying Alone: A Few Tips to Make Things Easier

If you have an elder at home that needs to be cared for all the time, you probably have your hands full with a lot many things. Be it loss of sight, sound, or memory, incontinence, depression, or immobility that the elder is affected with, he/she is going to be largely dependent on you and others in the house for everything.

It might be difficult for you to imagine leaving the senior person alone at home for an hour or a whole week. But what will you do if you’re faced with such a situation? You need to be prepared for the same so that when need be, you can leave the senior person alone at home without worrying about them.

Here are some tips that will help you take better care of the elders you care about. Whether they live on their own or need to be left alone for a couple of hours or days, making use of these tips will take the burden off your shoulders.

Tips on Proofing the Home

Even if you don’t ever leave the seniors home alone, you can’t keep a watchful eye on them 24/7. As such, it’s important to proof your home to minimize risks.

  • The floors need to be clear of unwanted items. Articles lying about can cause seniors to trip and hurt themselves.
  • Take extra care if you have stairs inside the house. Objects should never be left at the head and foot of the stairs in particular.
  • Electrical cords that don’t lie flat are a risk; secure them appropriately.
  • Make sure that you don’t have any throw rugs inside the house as they can cause seniors to slip and fall. If you must have rugs, secure them with rubber anti-slip liners. The rug also needs to lie flat against the floor.
  • The bathroom floor should be free of objects. Install anti-slip mats in the bathtub and shower.
  • Ensure that there is adequate lighting in all the rooms. Install nightlights so that the floor is clearly visible.

Tips to Help Decide If the Senior Can Be Left Alone

Not all seniors can be left alone to fend for themselves; even if it be for a short while or a few days. In case of an emergency, entrust the senior person to the care of a responsible adult or a professional care giver.

To decide if the senior person will be okay on their own, you need to consider a few things. If the person is bed-ridden, may wander off, cannot read warning signs, isn’t able to access emergency services by themselves, cannot ask for help, etc., then leaving them alone won’t be the right thing to do.

Even if the person needs to use a folding scooter or any equipment that helps with mobility, he/she can be left alone if they can carry out basic functions without assistance from others. They should be able to prepare simple meals or re-heat meals on their own, access the toilet without problems, be aware of the surroundings, and most importantly, be able to ask for help in case of an emergency.

Tips for Seniors Living Alone

These tips will help seniors who are living alone or those that have to stay alone for a few hours or days.

  • Ensure that all items that the senior person will be in need of are placed within easy reach. Also keep dangerous items like toxic fluids out of their reach.
  • Smoke alarms should be operating properly. Replace the batteries with new ones every six months.
  • Leave notes on appliances such as burners, the oven, the coffee machine, the hair dryer, etc. to remind seniors to turn them off after use.
  • A fire extinguisher should be handy around the fireplace and in the kitchen. Seniors should also know how to operate one.
  • Medicines should be kept handy. If the senior person has cardiac disease, or diabetes, or if he/she is affected with a chronic illness, it will help to keep medicines stashed in different areas of the house. This way, the senior person won’t have to rush from one place to another in case of an emergency.
  • Avoid telling everyone that the senior person is going to be alone at home. Seniors living on their own shouldn’t disclose this information to strangers or delivery boys.
  • You don’t have to be best friends with neighbors, but mingle with them a bit. They are the ones that will be able to first notice anything wrong. You might want them to be aware of the senior person’s health condition.
  • Have a friend or relative call or pay a visit every day. Get a lock box installed outside the house so that trusted individuals can get into the house in case there’s an emergency. Never leave keys in obvious places such as under the carpet or pots.
  • If the senior needs to use a mobility scooter to get around, or if he/she suffers from vertigo, epileptic seizures, etc., consider repositioning locks to a lower level.

Conclusion

By following the tips mentioned here, seniors shouldn’t have a problem when left alone for a while. The safety measures stated here will also be of use to seniors who wish to live independently.

By ensuring you’re doing the right things, you’ll have to deal with less stress regarding the safety of your loved one. When you know that everything has been taken care of and that things are in control, you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Some Content by Julie Howard – See Julie Howard’s blog @ Safety.com

Winter Safety Campaign

We are Ambassadors of NOAA & The Weather Ready Nation Program!

We are Ambassadors of NOAA & The Weather Ready Nation Program!

As Weather Ready Nation Ambassadors, we try to keep our readers up to date with the newest resources and information for safety in each season, and for all types of weather and climates.

“Meteorological Winter” is December, January, and February.  Winter is a dangerous season, with many risks, and a lot to prepare for.

Winter Safety Campaign

Winter storms, snow, windchill, frost, ice and extreme cold are a coast-to-coast threat to the United States and its territories. Even Hawaii gets snow on its Big Island and frost is a major threat to crops in Southern states. Major cities as far south as Atlanta and Dallas have been paralyzed by snow and ice. Extreme cold is a relative term. In Miami it is defined very differently than in Fairbanks. This page is designed to teach you how to stay safe in a winter storm or in abnormally cold weather for your area. If you know what to do before, during, and after a winter event, you can increase your chances of survival.

Here are some articles to help you prepare for a safe winter:

WRN

Travel Perfection

Travel First Aid Kits – Domestic & International Travel Safety Emergency Kits

Illness or injury can ruin a trip, so whenever you travel away from home, it is essential that you have a Travel first aid kit. Make sure you have all the resources you need to stay healthy — or in the case of a bump or bruise, to make sure you can administer self-care and get back to exploring. Too many travelers assume the over-the-counter medications and first aid supplies we find in any drug store will be available on their journeys – this is often not the case, so bring a first aid kit specifically designed for traveling! To enable you to cope if a more significant health problem interrupts your travels, your first aid kit should also contain items to help you treat injuries and reduce symptoms of illness for a period of time until you can get further medical attention.

Good first aid kit can help make your vacation perfect

Travel Emergency Kits - Is Yours Packed?

Travel Emergency Kits – Is Yours Packed?

Planning a vacation? Make a little room in your luggage for a travel first aid kit. It won’t cost much, and it won’t take up much space. Once you reach your destination, you won’t need to reach any further than your suitcase to relieve those minor aches and pains that can put a major damper on your plans.

A basic travel first aid kit should include prescription medicines in the original bottles, as well as a handful of over-the-counter remedies you can buy just about anywhere, says Caroline Sullivan, DNP, assistant professor at Columbia University School of Nursing. Generics can work just as well as brand-name products, and may also save you some money.

“A good first aid kit should help you cope with many of the situations that can make your vacation less than perfect – like a headache or a stomach ache,” says Sullivan, also an adult nurse practitioner at the Primary and Immediate Care practice at Columbia Doctors. “Once you set up the kit, just check the contents before every trip to make sure you have enough supplies and nothing has expired.”

Here’s what should go in the kit:

1.Pepto-Bismol tablets to relieve diarrhea, upset stomach, heartburn, indigestion, and nausea after too much food and drink
2.Tylenol or Advil to ease a headache or fever
3.Cortizone 10 cream to soothe an itchy, swollen insect bite
4.Antibiotic ointment like Neosporin or Bacitracin to prevent infection from minor cuts, scrapes, and burns.
5.Band-Aids to cover up blisters, or those minor cuts and scrapes
6.Benadryl to relieve allergies, and also to help you sleep
7.Hand sanitizer to kill germs before they make you sick
8.Tissues to sneeze, dab cuts, and clean hands in a pinch

Source: Columbia University School of Nursing via  News-Medical

 

Travel First Aid Kits – For adventure into the jungle or across town: Be ready with your traveling first aid pack!

Brrrrrr…..

New Hampshire was below zero this morning… it’s going to be a COLD Winter!

Brrr

Stay Warm and Safe!

Please consider the following messaging as we continue to help keep our community safe:

Had And Body WarmersCheck your smoke detectors. Are they working? Change your battery and make sure you have one per floor. If it activates, don’t ignore it. Never remove the battery. Evacuate and call 911. Do you have a carbon monoxide detector? These items can be purchased at any hardware store relatively inexpensively and in a combination unit.

Be prepared for Blackouts and other Winter Emergencies. Talk to your family members and create a family evacuation plan today. Know two ways out of every room and have a meeting place outside the residence where everyone knows to go.

If you smell something odd in your home such as possible fire or gas…don’t wait to evacuate. Get out and call 911. Allow the fire department to investigate. Your family’s safety is important to us.

Winter means many house fires – When firefighters arrive on scene and begin to lay hose lines, please change your direction of travel and leave the area. Drivers please be considerate and do not drive over hose lines. By doing so you are putting firefighter’s lives at even further risk by potentially cutting off their water supply to attack the fire.

Practice Generator safety, and never use portable heaters inside that aren’t rated for indoor use.

When was the last time you had your dryer, furnace, fireplace or water heater checked? Make an appointment today. Keep those items serviced and in the event of something malfunctioning, evacuate and call 911. Again….Never ever use appliances such as a stove to heat your home. This is not safe and is dangerous and deadly. If you choose to use a space heater, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and keep a 3 foot perimeter away from combustibles such as clothing, furniture and curtains. Do not use candles to heat your home and never leave them unattended. Don’t burn things in your fireplace that aren’t intended to be burned indoors.

Never leave food unattended while cooking. Grease on the stove can rapidly catch fire and get out of control. Always heat grease slowly and keep a method of extinguishment nearby such as a lid or fire extinguisher.

If you suspect that your child has been using combustible items such as cigarettes, please address it before it becomes deadly. Most Local Fire Departments have juvenile fire setters program that can help you explain the dangers of smoking as it pertains to a child.

Prepare for Winter Weather

While the danger from winter weather varies across the country, nearly all Americans are likely to face some type of severe winter weather at some point. Winter storms can range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind driven snow that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.

One of the primary concerns is winter weather’s ability to knock out heat, power and communications services to homes and offices, sometimes for days at a time. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region. “When the Sky Turns Gray” highlights the importance of preparing for winter weather before it strikes.

When The Sky Turns Gray – Animated Video for Winter Storm

Read more:

New guidelines on Diabetes Prevention and Treatment

During National Diabetes Month, the National Diabetes Education Program releases Guiding Principles for diabetes care.

A newly published set of 10 guiding principles highlights areas of agreement for diabetes care that could be clinically useful in diabetes management and prevention. Presented by the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), Guiding Principles for the Care of People With or at Risk for Diabetes is aimed at assisting with identification and management of the disease, self-management support for patients, physical activity and blood glucose control, among other topics. More than a dozen federal agencies and professional organizations support the document.

Diabetes has placed a health care and financial burden on Americans. More than 29 million Americans have diabetes and another 86 million – over one in three adults – have prediabetes. Diabetes costs the country $245 billion annually, estimates the American Diabetes Association.

NDEP is a partnership between the NIH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The following organizations and U.S. agencies support Guiding Principles:

  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American Academy of Physician Assistants
  • American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
  • American Association of Diabetes Educators
  • American Association of Nurse Practitioners
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • American Diabetes Association
  • American Heart Association
  • American Optometric Association
  • American Podiatric Medical Association
  • Department of Defense
  • Endocrine Society
  • Health Resources and Services Administration
  • Indian Health Service
  • National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians and AANPHI Diabetes Coalition
  • Office of Minority Health

The NDEP works with more than 200 partners and offers materials and resources to the public, people diagnosed with diabetes, health care professionals and business professionals. To view or download NDEP resources, visit www.YourDiabetesInfo.org

What is an NSAID and why does it matter?

We sometimes have customers that call in to confirm “if there is or is not NSAID in our Aspirin?” – or similar questions…

NSAIDs are not something you would find  listed as active ingredients or on the drug facts.

Aspirin-2This question is actually backward…NSAID is a class of medication – Aspirin wouldn’t “have NSAID” Aspirin IS an NSAID.

NSAID is “Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug” it is a Drug class

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, usually abbreviated to NSAIDs EN-sed—but also referred to as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents/analgesics or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines

Drugs in class: Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, Naproxen, Celecoxib, More

People with various conditions, ssuch as Liver problems, generally should not take NSAIDs… when taking medications, everyone should consult a physician or pharmacist if at all unsure or concerned.

Over-the-Counter Medications, Tablets, and Medicinals

National Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Month – and also Diabetic Eye Disease Month.

  • Nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.
  • Another 86 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
  • The American Diabetes Association estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245 billion.

What are the 3 types of Diabetes?

In type 1 diabetes, the body does not make insulin. In type 2 diabetes — the most common type, which has increased along with the obesity epidemic — the body does not make or use insulin well. A third type, gestational diabetes, occurs in some women during pregnancy. Though it usually goes away after the birth, these women and their children have a greater chance of getting type 2 diabetes later in life. Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented, and both types 1 and 2 diabetes can be managed to prevent complications.

Diabetes can lead to severe complications such as heart disease, stroke, vision loss, kidney disease, nerve damage, and amputation among others, and it’s a significant risk factor for developing glaucoma.
People with diabetes are more susceptible to many other illnesses such as pneumonia and influenza and are more likely to die from these than people who do not have diabetes.
Among U.S.residents aged 65 years and older, 10.9 million (or 26.9%) had diabetes in 2010.
Currently, 3.6 million Americans age 40 and older suffer from diabetic eye disease.
Education and early detection are major components to combating this disease.
What Can You Do?
Learn more to recognize diabetic symptoms and support research for cures and treatment.
Recommended Links:
Remember, too – World Diabetes Day is Nov. 14:

Autumn Health and Safety

While the media is full of Ebola updates, other concerns should not be forgotten this Fall. Enterovirus, Rabbit Fever and other concerns are actually more likely to affect Americans directly than Ebola. Of course, too, we are at the beginning of cough, could and flu season – so it’s time to get ready for that.

Have a safe and healthy Halloween.

Make Halloween festivities fun, safe, and healthy for trick-or-treaters and party guests.

Read these tips and articles:

ake steps to prevent the flu.

The single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year in the fall. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Wash your hands often. Stay home if you get sick.

  • Flu Season Is Around the Corner
  • Seasonal Flu Vaccination
  • Take 3 Actions to Fight the Flu –

    CDC urges you to take the following actions to protect yourself and others from influenza (the flu): 

    Step One

    Take time to get a flu vaccine.

    Take time to get a flu vaccine like this young boy from an older female nurse.

    • CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
    • While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the three or four viruses that research suggests will be most common. (See upcoming season’s Vaccine Virus Selection for this season’s vaccine composition.)
    • Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
    • Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine as soon as the current season’s vaccines are available.
    • Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
    • People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
    • Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to high risk people.
    • Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.
    Step Two

    Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.

    Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs like this mother teaching her young child to wash hands.

    • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
    • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
    • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
    • See Everyday Preventive Actions[257 KB, 2 pages] and Nonpharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) for more information about actions – apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine – that people and communities can take to help slow the spread of illnesses like influenza (flu).
    Step 3

    Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

    Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them like this older woman listening to her doctor.

    • If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness.
    • Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.
    • Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For people with high risk factors[702 KB, 2 pages], treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.
    • Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health or is very sick from the flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.
    • Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

Get smart about antibiotics.

Antibiotics can cure bacterial infections, but not viral infections. The common cold and the flu are viral infections, so avoid using antibiotics if you have one of these. Using antibiotics when they are not needed causes some bacteria to become resistant to the antibiotic, and therefore stronger and harder to kill. See your doctor or nurse to find out if your illness is bacterial or viral.

Cough? Cold? Flu? Infection? Pandemic?

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It is cold and cough season – get ready to fight flu and infection! Read our Blogs on these subjects and STOCK UP:
Flu Season Ebola Cough and Cold
DecongestantSee Our Cold & Cough Remedies.
Get Ready for Cold Season!Shop-Now
Pandemic-PackProtection Against Nasty Germs.
See Personal Protection Packs! Shop-Now
Charcoal-warmerStay Warm & Toasty this Season.
Check Out All Our Warmer Packs! Shop-Now