One of the biggest fears for people as they age is becoming incapacitated. To become a victim of one’s own body is genuinely terrifying, but there are ways to prevent this from happening.
While it is understandable that you can’t watch over your elderly parents or relatives, there’s a way for you to know if something has happened to them. You can have a medical alert system for seniors connected to your phone. This way you will be alerted if he or she has fallen, gotten injured, or is having a medical emergency.
These are things that you wish do not happen while you’re not around, but it’s best to be prepared for these eventualities.
Here are five of the worst safety risks that can affect seniors and how to avoid them:
If you notice the person walking slower than usual, ask if they have any issues with their joints. If you see they have balance issues, ask them if it’s because of their feet hurting or sight/hearing not being as sharp as it used to be. It’s easy to fix a sore foot, but you have to help them before they lose balance entirely.
To prevent falling, make sure walkways are clear of any clutter or objects that could cause someone to trip or fall. The same goes for stairs, and anything that could cause someone to trip or fall should be removed. If you have an older dog, take them out less frequently to avoid accidentally bumping into the person while walking down the steps. It’s also essential to make sure the person has a firm grip with their walker or cane.
To prevent choking, keep small objects out of reach and ensure foods are cut into smaller pieces. Also, make sure that the person is eating their meals in a quiet environment. It’s not a good idea to eat in front of the TV or when someone is on their phone. The TV, phone, and other environmental distractions could cause someone to choke on their food.
If they have difficulty chewing and swallowing, consider pureeing their food and adding it to their favorite dishes. The pureed texture will make it easy to eat, but it still has regular food flavor.
Dehydration/Failing to Eat and Drink Enough Food and Fluids
To prevent dehydration, ensure that the person is eating and drinking enough food. If they are not eating enough on their own, you may have to prepare some of their meals for them. It’s also essential to make sure they do not skip any meals, as this can lead to dehydration.
Ensure they are staying hydrated by giving them plenty of fluids throughout the day. They can have water, juices, coffee, herbal tea, or anything that is not caffeinated. For lunch and dinner, please give them a variety of healthy options low in sodium to keep their fluid intake balanced with salt intake.
Strangulation from Items At Home
The items in your home could become a hazard for the elderly if they aren’t correctly managed. If you notice the person has a hard time moving around their home, ask them if they have run into any issues. If they say that everything is fine, then start looking for signs of things being in different places or items that have not been put back where they belong.
Look around the house and make sure anything with cords (e.g., blinds, chargers) is out of reach and unplugged. This can be a significant safety concern if the person has dementia or other mental health problems that make them forgetful and confused about where to put certain things away.
To prevent strangulation from items at home, make sure any cords or ropes are out of reach and not tangled up. It’s also a good idea to keep items such as extension cords or tape out of reach. If you have a washer and dryer with a lint trap, empty it regularly to make sure there isn’t any fuzz or strings, they can quickly become wrapped around a person’s neck and cause them to choke.
To prevent fraud and scams, make sure you check IDs if someone comes to the door or asks for money over the phone. If it isn’t someone you know or an organization that should be soliciting you, don’t give any information out over the phone. It’s also essential to protect your credit card with a PIN so it can’t be used if lost or stolen.
To prevent fraud and scams for the elderly, go over how to handle different situations with them. For example, explain what to do if someone comes to the door or tries calling asking for money or personal information. Also, explain how to watch their credit card and bank account statements each month, so they don’t fall victim to any identity theft scams. It’s a good idea to encourage them to never give their social security number or personal information to anyone, no matter who they claim to be.
While these safety risks are severe and should be taken seriously by the family of elderly loved ones, there is always something you can do to help keep them safe at home. By following these safety tips, you will prevent the worst from happening and create a safer environment for your loved ones.