Posts Tagged ‘senior safety’

Living with MS: Staying Comfortable and Safe at Home with Multiple Sclerosis

March 24th, 2017

Living with MSAs the famous author Jane Austen said, “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” And for those living with MS, comfort is essential, as is remaining safe. If a family member has been diagnosed with MS, the first step in caregiving should be to make the necessary modifications so the home is a safe, comfortable sanctuary, and not a dangerous place.

Multiple sclerosis can cause getting around to be difficult, and because daily activities — including recreational activities — can result in fatigue more quickly in people with MS, creating specific changes to the home environment may help conserve energy and increase independence.

Some examples include:

  • Change out thick carpeting with smooth, nonslip flooring for easier mobility
  • Put grab bars in the bathroom
  • Reposition furniture to widen pathways throughout the home
  • Include items in the shower or bathtub such as a handheld showerhead, a slip resistant bath mat and a bathtub seat
  • Consider a bed rail to assist with changing sleeping positions
  • Replace knobs throughout the home with handles, which are easier to manage

If you have a loved one who is living with MS, Visiting Angels of Sunnyvale, San Jose and Fremont, CA can provide in-home modification guidelines and help in scheduling customizations to ensure your loved one’s residence is a more convenient place for independence. To discover more about our in-home care services in Santa Clara County and the surrounding area, contact us at 408-735-0977 or 510-284-0000 or 408-610-9996. Our in-home care from expert caregivers can help individuals stay in the comfort of their home, with the care needed to improve quality of life.

Bathroom Safety Tips for Seniors in Honor of National Bath Safety Month

January 24th, 2017

Bathroom Safety Tips for SeniorsHow could something that’s so comforting and relaxing, like a nice, warm bath, be one of the greatest dangers to seniors? The truth is, combining slick surfaces, slippery shampoo and very warm water create a number of potential hazards to seniors, especially the danger of falling – one of the most severe risks to older people.

January is set aside as National Bath Safety Month, and it’s a great opportunity for both training and assessment in bathroom safety for seniors.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that about 370 people of all ages suffer tub or shower-related injuries every single day in the USA. Because most falls in the home occur in the bathroom, AARP recommends taking the following preventative bathroom safety measures:

  • Put in grab bars for the toilet, shower, and tub
  • Install non-skid tile or use non-skid bath mats
  • Adjust temperature of the home’s hot water heater to 120 degrees F or less to prevent scalds
  • Provide a transfer bench to get in and out of the bathtub if susceptible to falling when stepping over the tub wall
  • Provide a bath chair to allow bathers to sit while bathing
  • Apply no-slip strips to the bathtub and shower floor, or provide a slip-resistant mat
  • Wipe up any water spills on the floor immediately

It’s also a wise idea to assess whether it might be worthwhile for a senior to utilize a mobile commode, which may be put at a bedside to ease nighttime bathroom needs. Bedside commodes can reduce the chance of evening falls, and can additionally be placed directly over the toilet, which is generally sturdier than a raised toilet seat. Features to look for when buying a commode:

  • Non-removable armrests
  • Rubber tips on the legs instead of wheels
  • A frame that is sturdy
  • Both a pail (with lid) and a sleeve (for use over the toilet)

Simple, basic commodes can cost anywhere between $60 and $250, although more complex, specialized commodes, such as those that have tilting mechanisms, can run as much as $3,000.

AARP also provides a handy bathroom safety checklist with design instructions which will help seniors and their families make the most appropriate home modification decisions so that they can avoid the potential hazards of the bathroom.

Visiting Angels of Fremont and Sunnyvale can also help with bathroom safety for seniors. We can provide an in-home safety evaluation and suggestions, and by providing expert, hands-on support at bathtime, can help ensure that seniors remain safe throughout all of their bathroom needs. Our care is always delivered with the utmost respect and regard for dignity and privacy. Contact us at 408.735.0977 or 510.284.0000 to learn more.

Exercises to Help Seniors Improve Balance and Prevent Falls

February 17th, 2015

Fall preventionAccording to the CDC, one out of three older adults falls each year, but less than half of those adults talk to their healthcare provider about it. When a senior experiences a fall, even if it does not result in injury, he can develop a fear of falling, which may cause the senior to limit his activities, leading to reduced mobility, loss of physical fitness, and in turn an increased risk of falling.

In our last blog, we discussed some home modifications you can make to ensure the home is a safer place for seniors. There are also a number of exercises that can help seniors increase muscle strength and improve balance which will not only help prevent falls, but also provide more confidence and overall improved health. Consult with your loved one’s physician before trying the following exercises:

  • Knee Lifts: Try to lift your knee as high as your hip using a secure object to assist in maintaining balance. As you grow stronger, decrease the tendency to lean on a support, and try holding the leg up for 3 seconds or longer.
  • Point and Flex: While sitting, point your toes and then flex them. Repeat with both feet.
  • Toe Tapping: While sitting, tap your toes. Repeat with both feet.
  • Sit-to-Stand: When necessary, use a chair for support when standing and again when returning to a sitting position. Try to gradually decrease use of your arms as your legs get stronger.
  • Calf Muscle Strengthener: While holding onto a wall, chair or the kitchen sink, repeatedly raise yourself up and down on tiptoes. As your strength improves, go higher up on your toes and eventually try it on one foot at a time.
  • Shin Muscle Strengthener: Lean your back against a wall with your heels placed seven to eight inches away from the wall. Lift the toes of both of your feet off the ground as high as possible.
  • One-legged Stand: Hold onto a secure object during balance training, such as a sturdy chair. Lift one leg off the ground and try to maintain balance on your standing leg.

A fall in the home can be a life-changing event for an older adult. Find out more about how to help an older loved one decrease his or her fall risk by contacting the home care experts at Visiting Angels of Sunnyvale and Fremont, CA.

Help Seniors Stay Safe at Home with Visiting Angels’ Tips to Prevent Trips

February 6th, 2015

Senior fall preventionTaking a tumble is never fun, but for an elderly person, a fall can have devastating effects, such as hip fracture, and even lead to a chain reaction of health problems. One-fourth of older adults who fracture a hip die within six months of the injury; a startling, yet preventable statistic.

Making some simple modifications to the home can help create a safer environment for seniors and help prevent dangerous falls. Here are some easy home modifications that can be done to reduce the risk of falls for the elderly.

  • Lighting:
    • Replace bulbs regularly to make sure there is adequate illumination in the home
    • Use nightlights or motion sensor lights for better visibility at night
    • Reduce the amount of electrical cords running across large areas
  • Floors:
    • Install low pile carpet or skid-proof tile
    • Remove rugs, or secure them with non-skid tape
    • Use a contrast in color with paint, carpet and furniture to denote changes in surface types or levels
    • Avoid using floor polish
  • Bathroom:
    • Install grab bars on walls around the tub and beside the toilet, strong enough to hold your weight
    • Add nonskid mats or strips to bathtubs
    • Mount liquid soap dispenser on the bathtub wall
    • Install a portable, hand-held shower head
    • Add a padded bath or shower seat

In addition to these home modifications, there are a number of products on the market that can help with preventing falls at home. Here are a few:

  • Door Alarms: If you have a loved one who tends to wander, particularly at night, door alarms can help alert you or a caregiver that your loved one is moving about and may be at risk of falling.
  • Monitoring Systems: Monitoring systems are becoming popular as a means of tracking an elderly individual’s movements at home. Sensors can be placed throughout the home to monitor movements and some even come with call functions for the senior to alert a caregiver in the event of a fall.
  • Fall Management Socks and Slippers: These are available with rubber grips on the bottom to help prevent slips and are perfect for seniors who are considered high-risk for falls. There are also slip resistant socks that can be worn in the shower.
  • Bedrails: Many falls occur during the night as seniors move in their sleep or get up during the night. Bedrails can keep seniors from falling out of bed and give them something to grip when standing to get out of bed.

With more and more older adults choosing to age in place as opposed to moving into assisted living facilities, it is important to make sure that the home is as safe as possible. The Sunnyvale and Fremont home care experts at Visiting Angels can help families assess fall risks in the home, make home modification suggestions, and provide the dedicated, loving care your loved one needs. Contact us today to learn more about our senior care services.