Services to Help You Avoid Going to a Nursing Home

If you are interested in aging in your home, and not moving into a nursing home, there are a number of services that are available to help you age in the home. In addition, there are services that are available through your local social services department. Here are services that make it possible for you to stay in your home instead of going into a nursing home.

Home Monitoring Services

A home monitoring service makes it easy for you to get help in the event of a medical emergency or a fall. There are options that will work with you as you travel from place to place through your cell phone, while others will automatically detect if you fall and will contact the emergency response center on your behalf.

Nursing Services

There may be a time when you need help with personal care tasks or medical help. There are nursing services that can provide in home care on your behalf. They can help with everything from a weekly visit and to around the clock care depending on your needs as you age.

Driving Services

Many cities will offer services that will drive you from your home to appointments or to the store. Even if these services are not available, there are driving services that are available to help with driving from taxi services to things like Uber. This can allow you to have continued independence when you are no longer able to drive.

Errand Services

There are personal assistant services that can help with a lot of tasks that can become more difficult to do as you age. You can have your groceries delivered to your door instead of shopping for yourself. They can also help with running errands to the cleaners or dropping things off around town.

Household Services

As you get older, taking care of your yard and home can become more difficult. You can hire someone to take care of your yard maintenance from mowing the lawn in the summer to shoveling the walks in the winter. You can also hire someone to clean the house for you, and to do your laundry. A personal chef can fix meals for you at week at a time and make it easy for you to heat something up and eat healthy.

Bringing Mom and Dad Home from the Hospital

senior at homeIt can be difficult to see your parents’ health decline and if they had a hospital stay due to a fall or illness, you may need to make changes so that they can come home from the hospital and spend time there. Here is a list of things that you should consider when preparing to bring a parent home from the hospital.

1. Safety Issues

One of the biggest concerns may be continued safety at home, especially if there is a fall at home. Clearing out any clutter at home and making it easy for your parents to move around their home is very important. You can add in safety features like a grab bar in the shower or a ramp up to the front door. You may also add in a stair lift.

2. Monitoring Service

Another option to consider is installing a monitoring service in the home. This service allows your parent to quickly contact an emergency call center when they fall or if there is a medical emergency. There are even mobile options that can help if your parents get lost when they are driving around town.

3. Setting Up Medical Equipment

Another thing to consider is the medical equipment that your parent may need on returning home from the hospital. Your parent may temporarily need a hospital bed that makes it easier to get in and out of bed. Other equipment may include oxygen or something as simple as a walker. You can learn exactly what you need to arrange by speaking to your parent’s doctor or nurse.

4. Arranging for Extra Help

When your parent first comes home, they may be limited in what they can do physically. The help may need to be a housekeeper or a cook. They may need more specialized help that can helps with nursing duties or bathing. You may need a caretaker there 24 hours a day or just a few hours each day or every other day.

5. Take Advantage of Available Services

Caring for an aging parent can be difficult, especially if you still have children at home. There are services in the communities that can help with many duties you may take on yourself. There are services that can help drive your parents around town, help with the shopping or meal delivery or even set up weekly visitors to check in. Talk to the human services department to learn what is available in your area.

Learn how to make a home senior friendly so that when you bring you mom or dad home from the hospital it will be easier for them to retain their independence.

What Can I Do to Make My Parents Home More Senior Friendly?

senior citizen with familyOne of the struggles with aging parents is the balance between supporting their continued independence and the worry about keeping them safe. As you work with your parents to help them stay at home as long as possible, there are steps you can take to make their home more senior friendly. Falls can lead to serious injuries like broken hips. The best way to avoid this is to make your parent’s home more senior friendly. Here are five steps you can take.

Make Sure the Stairs Are Safe

As homes get older, the stairs may not be as safe. Check out the handrail that goes along the stairs. If there is not one, install it. Check your outside stairs as well as these may become unattached or weaker if the home settles or due to extreme weather conditions. Check the stairs to make sure they are not slippery. Carpet can become slippery and wooden or tile stairs can also become more slippery. Make sure there is a railing along the stairs to stop any sideways falls off them.

Clean Out the Clutter

Clutter can create many hazards including tripping hazards. Take the time to sort through any clutter that may accumulated and to change the furniture so that is easy to maneuver around. If your parents have begun to use a cane or walker, you will need to make sure they can use that throughout the house. While most houses will not have huge amounts of clutter, most people begin to collect clutter they do not really notice after living in a home for many years. Clearing this out can make moving a lot easier.

Add Adaptations

You can make daily tasks easier to complete by adding adaptations to your home. One example is adding a stair lift or a walk-in tub to the bathroom. Another is put a grab bar in the bathroom, like what you see in a handicap stall. This can help your parents keep their balance on slippery floors. Another option is to install a ramp if the stairs outside are becoming too difficult.

Set Up a Monitoring System

A monitoring system, like the ones at Safety Watch is a great way to have peace of mind while your parents are living at home. The system can alert you if they fall and contact an ambulance if there is an injury. This is essential if your mother or father is living alone.

Learn the Top 10 Safety Tips for Seniors Living Alone to see how you can live more independently.

Create a Contingency Plan for Falls

senior citizen safety alert systemsA fall for a senior is truly a scary thing. There are the horror stories that you hear about where someone was not discovered in time to receive the help they needed in time. Since falls can happen for many reasons from a trip to losing mobility to a medical emergency, it is important to have a clear plan in place in case of a fall.

Choose a Home Monitoring System

One of the best aspects of a contingency plan for falls is a home monitoring system. The Safety Watch system includes a pendant that can be worn always even while in the shower or bath. There is the option that allows the device to monitor if the person wearing it falls and then the emergency monitoring center can contact to verify if there was a fall and if any help was needed. If there is no answer, then help is sent right away.

Do Regular Check Ins

There may be times when you forget to put on your pendant. It may be when you are changing clothes or when you first get up in the morning. If you were to fall on a day that you forgot to put on your pendant, you may be facing a much more serious situation. One way to help offset this possibility is to have regular check ins with a family member or neighbor who can make sure that everything is okay. Checking in at the same time every day can help set up a schedule so that a day is not forgotten. This is common practice in a retirement community. If you are still living in your home, you may want to have a regularly scheduled phone call to a child or someone else.

Set Up a Clear Notification Process

When you have a home monitoring system installed, you will also set up an emergency contact who will be notified if there any issues. This will allow your family to jump into action and meet you at the hospital or come over if you need the additional help. This emergency contact will then need to work to notify other family members of the situation. This could be through a group text or email. You could also assign this role to someone that can act as a liaison between the emergency contact person and the rest of the family.

Create an Emergency Plan Now

It helps to have a clear plan in place in the event of a fall or other medical emergency. This can include everything from deciding who will have medical power of attorney to adding people as a signer on accounts so that bills can continue to be paid while you are recovering. It can also include health insurance information, preferred doctor or hospital, and plans on what to do in each situation. It can take time to put all the paperwork in place, but it will make everything go much more smoothly if something does happen.

Read 5 Winter Travel Tips to Stay Safe and Prevent Falls and find out how you can have a safer Winter season free from injury.

5 Winter Travel Tips to Stay Safe and Prevent Falls

Winter is the time of year where there is an increase in falls throughout the country. One of the major reasons is the increase of snow and ice which creates the perfect conditions for a serious fall. Here are five things you can do to make sure you stay safe while you are traveling this winter.

1. Choose Proper Footwear

Although heels and shiny flats may look the best with your dress, it is better to choose a sensible shoe to wear when traveling outside. Look for boots with a good sole that will grip the snow and that does not become slippery when wet. Ice and traction cleats are an excellent option. Once you safely arrive at your destination, you can discretely change your shoes and avoid a fall completely.

2. Keep Your Walks and Driveways Clear

Many falls come when entering or leaving your home on the stairs down from your porch. Ice melt is a great product that can help clear up any slippery spots. Instead of struggling to keep the walks clear yourself, you can hire someone to do it for you. This will prevent falls that may happen when trying to keep the walkway clear.

3. Choose to Stay In

This does not mean that you need to be a shut-in all winter long. Instead consider staying home if there is an ice storm in your area. Ice is nearly impossible to walk on for anyone. When there is a particularly heavy snowfall, consider staying in an extra hour or two to give time for the parking lots and sidewalks to be cleared for you.

4. Use a Cane or Walker

It can be helpful to have something extra to hold onto if you are in danger of falling. One the stairs always be sure to have a good firm grip on the railing. It helps to have a can or walker on days where you feel unsteady or if you have been advised to use one by your doctor. Look for a wide base with a rubberized tip to help you stay steady.

5. Make Sure Your Car Is Ready for Winter

Accidents are more likely to happen in hazardous conditions. Check your tires before winter comes to be sure they can handle the snow and ice. You can also take the car in for a tune-up to be sure it will operate properly in the cold. Finally, be sure that you put blankets in your car as well as an emergency kit in case you have car troubles and you are stranded until help comes.

How to Safely Assist in Patient Transfers

help patient standA move as basic as getting in and out of a chair can be difficult for a senior, depending on their age, flexibility, and strength. The height and stability of the chair or other sitting surface also plays a role in the successful transfer. A slightly raised seat is preferable to one that is low or deep. Following are the basic guidelines for safely assisting a senior in both standing and sitting.

Sitting to Standing Transfer

  • Scoot the person you are assisting toward the front edge of a chair, bench, or bed with their feet flat on the floor.
  • Make sure feet are positioned approximately shoulder width apart and slightly behind the knees.
  • Gently help shift the senior’s weight forward (over the toes) while they push up with both hands on the armrests of the chair or off of the bench or bed.

Read more How to Safely Assist in Patient Transfers

Top 10 Safety Tips for Seniors Living Alone

More and more seniors choose to live on their own these days. Living independently can be very good for your mental health, but you need to take steps to prevent accidents in your house and ensure that help can get to you in the event it’s needed:

1. Avoid slippery conditions: Make sure floors aren’t slippery. Put down non-slip floor mats in your bathrooms and install safety bars (also known as „grab bars‟) in bath tubs and showers, and next to toilets. Also install mats at the entry points to your house so floors don’t get slick on rainy days. Read more Top 10 Safety Tips for Seniors Living Alone

How to Make a Home Senior-Friendly

There are several ways to “fall-proof” your home in order to minimize the risk of falling, and below are a series of questions that should be checked immediately and should all have a YES answered to them. Besides fall proofing your home it is highly advisable to also select the Fall Detection service option when ordering your medical alert system.

  • Are sturdy railings or banisters securely placed along each stairway?
  • Are stairs, halls, and exits free of clutter?
  • Are throw rugs eliminated or fastened down?
  • Are electrical cords in good condition?
  • Are nightlights placed in the bedroom-bathroom area and in the halls? Wiring should not be frayed or stripped. Do not run electrical wire under carpet. Keep telephone wires away from walkways.

Read more How to Make a Home Senior-Friendly

Causes and Risk Factors of Falls

Many Possible Causes

Falls don’t “just happen,” and people don’t fall because they get older. Often, more than one underlying cause or risk factor is involved in a fall. A risk factor is something that increases a person’s risk or susceptibility to a medical problem or disease.

As the number of risk factors rises, so does the risk of falling. Many falls are linked to a person’s physical condition or a medical problem, such as a chronic disease. Other causes could be safety hazards in the person’s home or community environment. Read more Causes and Risk Factors of Falls

All about falls

Risk Increases With Age

Many people have a friend or relative who has fallen. The person may have slipped while walking or felt dizzy when standing up from a chair and fallen. Maybe you’ve fallen yourself.

If you or an older person you know has fallen, you’re not alone. More than one in three people age 65 years or older falls each year. The risk of falling — and fall-related problems — rises with age. Read more All about falls