SAFE Senior Blog

Checkout our SAFE senior blog posts as we will bring you topical news you need to know regarding seniors staying safe while living in place in their homes. Get specific how-to safety steps along with professional commentary regarding important news breaks of the day impacting seniors.

Looking for a Last-Minute Tax Deduction? Think S.A.F.E.

With April 15 looming, you’re probably seeing a lot of messages about how it’s not too late to add funds to a 401(k) or other retirement vehicle to quality for a deduction on your 2015 taxes. While it’s never a bad strategy to increase the money you’re putting away for your “golden years,” you may also want to consider making a tax-deductible donation to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports a cause you believe in — perhaps S.A.F.E. Our name says it all: S.A.F.E. stands for Senior Assistance Foundation for the Elderly. We care for those who have cared for us — our parents — by increasing public awareness of the potential dangers a senior’s home can pose to their health and offering services to enable a better aging lifestyle. Did you know: More than 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day? Among those 65+, falls are the number one cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence and injury deaths? About half of older adults who are discharged for fall-related hip fractures will experience another fall within six months? Getting help after an immobilizing fall improves the chance of survival by 80% and increases the likelihood of a return to independent living? Many falls don’t result in injuries, yet a large percentage of non-injured fallers (47%) can’t get up without assistance. Those are sobering statistics, and they might make you think twice about supporting your parents’ desire to stay in their own home. That’s where we come in. S.A.F.E. provides home modification services that include removing hazards, adding special features or assistive devices, moving furnishings, changing...

Celebrate America’s Pastime

Does a senior you love enjoy baseball? The sport known as America’s pastime starts to ramp up this month, providing opportunities to visit spring training in nearby Arizona and plan for the upcoming season. Taking in a baseball game is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening, enjoying the action on the diamond and getting a chance to catch up. Spring Training The Padres are part of the Cactus League, which includes 15 teams from the National and American leagues. The pre-season schedule began on March 1 and runs through April 2. Most games are in Arizona, but the April 1 and 2 games, against the Chicago White Sox, will take place in San Diego in Petco Park. The Padres’ spring training facility (shared with the Seattle Mariners) is in Peoria, AZ. Since the Cactus League is concentrated in the greater Phoenix area, you can plan to visit a number of ballparks, even two in one day if you wish. It’s best to make a plan and buy your tickets in advance, especially for teams that draw well, such as the Chicago Cubs. The atmosphere at spring training games is more relaxed and you may even run into major leaguers around the stadiums and in local watering holes. Regular Season The Padres’ 162-game schedule kicks off on the evening of April 4, when they host the rival LA Dodgers. Check the schedule, available on the Padres’ website, to pick out the games you want to attend this year. While becoming a full season ticket holder might not be in the cards, the Padres do have multi-game packs...

Not a Cane Lover? Choose a Walking Stick

We’ve said it before and I’m sure we’ll say it again: getting older is not for sissies. One of the many things that can frustrate seniors is not being able to easily do things that were a breeze when they were younger. While it’s not a problem to give up some things — like sitting Indian-style on the floor, for instance — no one wants to have their mobility affected by nothing more than the passage of time. Even minus medical issues like arthritis, many seniors may find themselves struggling to maintain their balance while walking, but most will stubbornly refuse to use a cane, which they see as an old person’s tool. Failing to use a walking aid due to stubbornness can be a recipe for disaster, because falls taken by older people can result in serious medical problems. At S.A.F.E., we started thinking about alternatives to using a cane and stumbled on something we find rather brilliant. What about using a walking stick instead? Walking sticks come in many styles, and because they look a lot less clinical than canes, seniors may consider them to be more of a fashion statement or embellishment than a medical device. As long as they sport a plastic tip — an important stabilizing element — a walking stick may be the perfect solution for a cane-phobic senior. There may even be some medical benefits to using a walking stick, as noted by Linda Joy Mendelsohn, M.D., a doctor in Cochecton, NY. She wrote the following in Am Fam Physician: “For several reasons, I wholeheartedly agree that a walking stick is better...

The Benefits of Aging

If we wanted to philosophize about the benefits of aging, we’d probably focus on the value of the wisdom acquired throughout a life of experiencing new things and learning important life lessons. But, we’re taking a more lighthearted approach; how about all the discounts that are available to seniors? Rather than feeling despondent about advancing age, we suggest embracing each year that passes and celebrating the ability to enjoy a high quality of life during your “golden years.” People are living robust lives into their 60s, 70s, 80s and even older, due to medical advances and a greater focus on healthy living. And, the older you get, the more you can take advantage of discounts that pay homage to your longevity (and some even begin at age 55). Many companies offer discounts but don’t advertise them, so ask; you’ve earned it! Eating Out Chili’s: 10% off Denny’s: 10% off (20% for AARP members) Dunkin’ Donuts: 10% off or free donut with coffee IHOP: 10% off the regular menu KFC: free small drink with any meal McDonald’s: discounts on coffee everyday Subway: 10% off Retail and Apparel Dress Barn: 20% off Goodwill: 10% off one day a week (varies by location) Hallmark: 10% off one day a week (varies by location) Kohl’s: 15% discount every Wednesday Ross: 10% off on Tuesdays Grocery Albertson’s: 10% off the first Wednesday of each month Fry’s Supermarket: free Fry’s VIP Club Membership and 10% off every Monday Kroger: 5% discount on Thursdays Transportation Alamo, Avis, Budget, Hertz, National: up to 25% off American Airlines, Southwest Airlines: discount fares for ages 65+ Amtrak: 15% discount...

Diet & Exercise Tips for Seniors

It’s important for everyone to eat a healthy diet and be physically active, but as we age, our needs change and what we eat and how often we exercise is even more important to long-term health. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases offers plenty of tips for seniors in both areas. Healthy Eating When you get older, your body begins to need fewer calories, but you need just as many nutrients. Nutrient-dense foods pack a lot of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs into a small amount of calories. Seniors, like other Americans, are advised to “eat from the rainbow” of foods rich in nutrients:      Fruits and vegetables (a range of types with vibrant colors)      Whole grains, like oatmeal, whole-wheat bread and brown rice      Fat-free or low-fat milk and cheese, or soy or rice milk fortified with vitamin D and calcium      Seafood, lean meats, poultry and eggs      Beans, nuts and seeds Seniors should eat less of these high-calorie, low-nutrient foods:       Sugar-sweetened drinks and desserts with added sugars      Foods with butter, shortening, or other fats that are solid at room temperature      White bread, rice and pasta made from refined grains Be aware that according to the American Diabetics Association, approximately 25% of Americans over 60 have diabetes — according to some experts a healthy diet can help prevent or control this serious disease. Many resources are available that address the dietary needs of adults over 50, including What’s On Your Plate? Smart Food Choices for Healthy Aging. This...

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

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

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...

Home Show 2015 Exhibitor S.A.F.E.

  The turnout might have been a bit lower than expected at the 2015 Home Show this year, but our S.A.F.E. booth sure captured peoples’ attention! Here are some pics from the event.   Walk-in Shower for the Elderly was On Display at the Home Show Passers-by were very interested in our on-display walk-in shower at the 2015 Home Show this past weekend. Walk-in showers are one one of the most popular pieces to consider during a home modification for the elderly desiring to live in place at the home they’ve resided at for many years.   Communication is Key at S.A.F.E. Our conversations with people were unique for sure. No other company featured the type of services we offer as a non-profit Foundation at S.A.F.E. designed specifically for seniors living in San Diego and surrounding areas.     If you are in need of home modification (or know of a family member or friend we should talk to), please contact us immediately at 760-532-7512 or use our contact...

Join Us at the 2015 Home Show at Del Mar Fairgrounds

Come meet some of the S.A.F.E. Senior Foundation staff at the 2015 Home Show at Del Mar Fairgrounds Friday, Saturday and Sunday, October 9-11, 2015. Admission is FREE! Meet the Staff of S.A.F.E. Be sure to stop by booth #303. We would love to meet you! Here is an exhibitor map to show our location on the exhibitor...
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