Focus on Medication

Focus on Medication

The older your parents get, the more likely it is that they’re taking a variety of medications for various ailments and chronic conditions. At S.A.F.E., we suggest a number of things be done to ensure the safety of your parents with regard to medication. Ensure all medications are necessary. It may be that your parents have been on one or more drugs for some time, and perhaps the necessity of taking them has passed. Obviously this is not a decision you can make (and nor can your parents), but it’s not a bad idea to sit down with them and their primary care physician to review every medication and confirm it’s still needed (or not). Ensure all doctors communicate. This goes hand and hand with the first point, as it’s important that your parents’ primary care physician knows what specialists are prescribing, and vice versa. If your parents fill all their prescriptions at the same pharmacy, a sharp pharmacist should notice any interaction problems — but it’s better to be proactive and ensure the prescribing doctors know everything your parents are taking. Keep a list of all medications. This list, which should include supplements and over-the-counter drugs as well as prescription medications, should be kept in an easily accessible place in your parents’ home. In the event that first responders are called to handle a medical emergency, this list can literally be a lifesaver. (Having a medication/supplement list at hand is actually a good idea for everyone.) Create a medication system. How are your parents keeping track of when they’re supposed to take their medications? It can be tricky...
Heat Safely This Winter

Heat Safely This Winter

While the San Diego area doesn’t experience hard winters like many other places in the U.S. and around the world, we do have our own brand of cold to deal with over the winter season. The buildings we live in typically don’t have as much insulation as buildings constructed in places where the weather can get downright frightful, so when temperatures dip into the 30s or 40s — fairly common overnight lows from December to February — we need to rely on a heat source to ward off the chill. At S.A.F.E., eliminating hazards from seniors’ homes is part of our mission, and that can include taking a look at their heating systems to ensure their safety. Perhaps the most important action to take is calling SDG&E (at 1-800-411-7343) to take advantage of their free service for customers to detect carbon monoxide (CO) in their homes. As you may know, CO is difficult to detect because it’s odorless and invisible. Seniors are particularly at risk, as are children, so it’s a good idea to install a CO detector (or a combination CO/smoke detector) to keep the ones you love safe. The National Fire Protection Association also provides some heating safety tips, given that heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths (and half of all home heating equipment fires occur in December, January and February). Here are some simple steps you can take to prevent most heating-related fires: Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove or portable space heater. Never use your oven to heat...
Preventing Senior Slips and Falls

Preventing Senior Slips and Falls

Getting older isn’t for sissies. Activities that were second nature as younger people can be challenging for seniors, and proving that point is the fact that slips and falls are one of the leading causes of injuries for seniors. Before we get into how to make outdoor spaces safer for seniors, let’s look at a few alarming facts about slips and falls, from an informative handbook by retired orthopedic surgeon Dr. M.E. Hecht called, The Slip and Fall Prevention Handbook: You Make the Difference. About 70% of serious injuries that require emergency room visits and often surgery, happen inside seniors’ homes or within 30 yards of them. The most common slip and fall injuries are hip and other fractures and traumatic brain injuries. It doesn’t matter whether the home is a walkup one-roomer or a McMansion; those 55 or older are part of the serious injury-vulnerable population. Dr. Hecht cites those facts based on his lengthy experience seeing and treating seniors who have slipped and fallen. The good news is that there are things that can be done to be proactive in preventing such events. At S.A.F.E., we suggest focusing initially on outdoor spaces, as common items can be treacherous for seniors, especially in wet weather. Here’s our list of things to check: Front and back doormats. Make sure these are the non-slip variety. Rubber is the worst material for seniors. Outside lighting. Make sure the porch light works and perhaps consider installing motion sensor lights to make tasks like taking out the trash safer. Trashcan locations. Keep trashcans in the garage if possible, so they don’t get wet...
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