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A Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults

Written by sitecats on . Posted in Family Caregivers Blog, Uncategorized

Every year, thousands of older Americans fall at home.  It is one of the top reasons older individuals end up in hospital emergency rooms.  Many of them are seriously injured with broken hips and head trauma.  The falls are often due to hazards in the home  that are easily overlooked. There are some simple steps you can take to protect your loved one from fall and serious injury. Follow the checklist to determine the hazards in each room and the instructions how to fix the problem.  

Floors 

Q: When you walk through a room, is there furniture in the way?  Do you have to walk around the furniture.  

A: Move the furniture so the path is clear.

Q:  Are there throw rugs on the floors?

A:  Remove the throw rugs.  Some individuals use double sided tape on the rugs but that is not advisable.  

Q:  Are there objects on the floors such as; papers, books, shoes, boxes, etc.?

A:  Always keep paths clear and objects off the floors.  Pick up items and find a closet, bookcase, or cabinet for items.

Stairs 

Q: Are there objects on the steps waiting to be taken upstairs?

A:  Once again keep objects off of stairs and pathways clear.  

Q:  Are there any broken steps or uneven steps?

A:  Fix loose or uneven steps.

Q:  Is there a light over the stairway?  

A:  Have an electrician put an overhead light at the top and bottom of the stairs.

Q:  Is there one or two light switches for your stairs (one at top and one at bottom of stairs)?

A:  Have a glow light switch placed at the top and bottom of the stairs.  One that is a motion switch is best.

Q:  Is the carpet loose or torn on the steps?

A:  Make sure the carpet is firmly attached to every step, if necessary remove the carpet and attach non-slip rubber treads to the steps.

Q:  Are handrails in place on one or both sides?  As we get older having handrails on each side is best.  Are the handrails loose or broken?

A:  Fix any loose areas or put up new handrails.

Kitchen

Q:  Are the items you use often on high shelves?

A:  Move items you use most often in your cabinets to eye level or about waist high. 

Q:  Do you have a step stool you use?  Is it unsteady?

A:  If you use a step stool get one that is sturdy and has a bar to hold onto.  Never stand on a chair. 

Bathroom

Q:  Is your tub or shower floor slippery?  Depending on the type of floor in your tub or shower it can be slippery even when it is not wet.

A:  Put non-slip rubber self-stick strips on the floor of the tub or shower.  

Q:  Are there grab bars for support when you get in and out of the tub or up from the toilet?

A:  Never use towel racks to assist you in getting up.  Install grab bars inside the tub/shower and next to the toilet. 

Bedroom

Q:  Is there a light by the bed?  Is it hard to reach?  

A:  Place a lamp close to the bed that is easy to reach or is motion activated to turn on and off.

Q:  Is the path from your bed to the bathroom dark?  Do you use nightlights?

A:   Put a motion activated night-light where you are walking.  Some night-lights go on at night and off during the day. 

Other Things you can do to prevent falls are:

  • Wear a Medical Alert bracelet or necklace that will notify emergency personnel if you fall.  There are many different kinds out there to use.  One of safest alert systems is the Lifeline Auto Alert.  There is no button to push.  The Auto Alert system identifies a fall and automatically calls you to ask if you are okay.  If there is no response it will automatically call 911 for help. 
  • Have your vision checked at least once a year.  
  • Wear shoes when inside and outside your home.  
  • Paint a contrasting color on the top edge of all steps so you can see the stairs better.  

Call us for more information about installing a Lifeline Auto Alert or to speak with a representative about a home safety evaluation call us at 215-541-9030215-541-9030.  

 

 

Dealing with Nighttime Wakefulness and Wandering

Written by sitecats on . Posted in Family Caregivers Blog, Uncategorized

If a loved one wanders during the night you need to make sure that the primary daytime caregiver is able to sleep. This requires either a very safe room for your loved one to wander in, or else another person to care for your loved one at night. Never restrain your loved one in bed but you can consider wander alarms to let you know of their sudden change in mobility. Consult with your doctor about the issue so they address any medical changes going on with your love one.

What you can do to help is:

  • Encourage exercise and activity during the day. This can make they eat more and tired at night to sleep.

  • Monitor their medications. Some interfere with sleep when taken in the evening. Discuss with the doctor.

  • Secure the doors at night so your loved one does not wander outside, especially in the cold and with no clothes on. Many times they are so confused they go looking for home in the middle of the night.

  • Get the “safe return medic alert bracelet” for your loved one, through the Alzheimer’s Association.
    Their information is entered into a national data base so they can be returned with they are found wandering outside.

  • Make sure you get the rest you need. Hire a profes- sional caregiver to stay with your loved one at night.

  • For more information on how to deal with the difficult behaviors of Alzheimer’s and Dementia contact Family Caregivers Network.

 

 

Strategies for Bathing a Loved One

Written by sitecats on . Posted in Family Caregivers Blog, Uncategorized

In caring for a loved one it can be extremely stressful when they begin to have behavioral issues and refuse to bath.  There are practical tips that caregivers can use when this happens:

1.  Try to determine why they won’t bath.  Is it a fear of falling?  It it because they get too cold when bathing?  Is it due to memory loss and they think they have already bathed? 

2.  Even if you are unable to determine the “why” of not bathing you can follow these tips to help;

  •       establish a routine, same day of the week, same time of the day.  Post signs as reminder of bath day throughout the house. Don’t worry about the frequency of bathing.   Once or twice a week can be fine for most individuals unless there is incontinence issues.
  •       make sure the bathroom is warm enough for the person.  Put towels in the dryer prior to bath time to warm them for your loved one.
  •       use a shower chair in the bath area.  Consult with a professional nurse or therapist as to the right kind of chair to use.  There are many different kinds of tub or shower chairs on the market.
  •       try to have the bathroom completely prepared prior to bathing.  Have all supplies ready and in arms length for safety purposes.  Never leave your loved one alone.  One of highest area for falls in the elderly is in the bathroom.
  •       stay positive and never reprimand your loved one.  It is important not to humiliate and yell at them to bathe.  Instead just run the water and let them know it’s time to get their day started.  Lead them into the bathroom and give them step by step instructions of what to do.
  •       sometimes it is earsier to hire a professional aide to bath your loved one instead of having family do it.  This reduces stress in the home and professionals have other techniques they can use. 
  •       for families who are unsure of how to bath a love done, come into our direct care lab and one of our staf can instruct you on the right way to bath your loved one.    For more information about care for a love one call Family Caregivers Network at 215-541-9030 or send us an inquiry through our website, click here.