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Taking Senior Safety Seriously: Part 2

As part of our focus on safety (June is National Safety Month!), our blog last week looked at some common safety concerns around the house—a sort of “senior proofing” exercise for any caregiver. Falls are a particularly common and dangerous hazard for seniors, but other safety concerns should be on a caregiver’s radar as well.

Driving is an activity that can become less safe as we age. Unfortunately it is never easy to have a conversation with your aging loved one about their ability to drive, but it is important to monitor them closely to prevent dangerous accidents. Declining eyesight and slower reaction times can make driving more dangerous. Medications and their side effects could also impair a driver’s cognitive ability. If you notice your loved one coming home with scratches or dents on their car or if they start getting in minor traffic incidents, it may be time to take away the keys. Fortunately many cities offer alternate forms of transportation for the elderly, and in-home care companies such as Home Care Plus can often handle a client’s driving needs. Offering solutions to your loved one will help them retain their sense of independence and will make giving up driving easier.

Many aging adults take multiple prescription medications to manage the myriad medical conditions they suffer from. Side effects can alter everything from moods to mobility, which can make everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning and running errands less safe. Certain drugs don’t mix well with others, so it’s important that your loved one’s doctor and pharmacist know of all the medications they are taking so they can screen for potential problems. Keeping an accurate list of meds is even more important if they are seeing multiple doctors or using multiple pharmacies. Remembering which drugs need to be taken with food or how many times a day to take a certain medication can be tricky, so consider using one of the many apps available today, such as Apple’s MedCoach app, to help you and your loved one keep track.

Poor hearing or declining vision can make everyday life challenging. Navigating the house, going for a walk, cooking—these skills will have to be re-learned as the physical changes progress. Spend time with your loved one in the kitchen to make sure they are still cautious and observant when using the stove and other appliances. Encourage your loved one to use timers when they cook. Consider investing in a phone with a larger keypad so it is easier to see. Home medical alert or emergency devices are a great idea if your love one is home alone for extended periods of time.

National Safety Month is a great time to do a little “senior proofing” around your or your loved one’s house. Most aging adults want to remain in their own home as long as possible, so if it is no longer safe for them to be there alone, bring in a caring, qualified company like Home Care Plus to help keep them safe.

 

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