Essential Safety & Warning Devices for Seniors’ Homes

An overwhelming majority of seniors wish to age in place — live in the home of their choice — whether that be in their current home, a smaller living space, with relatives, or in a senior living facility.

The same is true for those of us who are not yet seniors. We often hear statistics that put the number at close to 100% of us who wish to age in place.

But are their homes ready to keep them safe, healthy, and comfortable?

There are many things that we can do to make that a reality, including keeping our bodies as healthy and functional as possible, preventing chronic diseases or managing those diseases that we have while keeping our minds active.

Once you are in the home of your dreams, there are things that can be done to help make the home safe and secure.

Because we know how important these products are to seniors in their homes, we included a selection of each in The Shop at Senior Care Corner®, our convenient store tailored to the needs of family caregivers of older adults.

Smoke Detectors

A smoke detector/alarm will sense smoke in the area and alert when danger is present either audible, visually or both 24 hours a day.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes without working smoke alarms.

Smoke alarms can be installed in your home, using batteries for power or being wired into your house’s electrical system. If they have batteries, they need to be checked for proper functioning regularly. Even those wired in will have a battery backup system that will need to be checked.

If it is powered by a 9 volt battery, it is recommended to check it every month, replacing the battery yearly and the entire unit every 8-10 years. The same schedule is true for wired alarms. Your senior may hear a characteristic chirp when the battery needs changing.

We are often reminded to change the battery in the smoke alarm. For many a good reminder is to do it each time we change our clocks for daylight saving time.

Smoke detectors/alarms are not expensive and can be installed relatively easily by many do-it-yourselfers. They should be placed in particular areas of your home, including every floor and the basement, near the bedrooms (in each bedroom if practical), and in the kitchen. Fire officials prefer smoke alarms be placed both inside and outside the sleeping area.

Smoke rises so be sure to install the alarms at the proper height according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Some fire departments will install home smoke alarms at no cost to your senior so contact your local department to see if they have such a program.

Fire officials warn that we should never disable a smoke alarm in the kitchen but instead ventilate the area to clear the smoke putting the alarm on ‘hush,’ not off.

If your senior is hard of hearing or would otherwise benefit from a strobe alarm in addition to the high pitched frequency of the usual smoke alarm, those are also available for home use. I

f a strobe would not awaken them if there is a fire at night, there are a growing number of systems that link into a bed shaker to ensure everyone is alerted to the danger.

Fire Extinguishers

Does your senior’s home have a portable fire extinguisher?

Do they know how to use it if needed?

Has it been checked to see if it is still functioning?

A fire extinguisher should be used when the fire is contained and can be controlled. Remember to always evacuate the home and contact the fire department BEFORE trying to put out the fire yourself.

It is recommended to have a portable fire extinguisher near the exit door to ensure that you can leave safely and get help.

Check out our Family Caregiver Video Tip about safety measures and proper techniques for using a fire extinguisher.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

These are devices that can detect the presence of carbon monoxide gas in your senior’s home, if applicable (see below), to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. It is very important to install a detector because carbon monoxide (CO) is known as the silent killer because it is an odorless gas that goes undetected until the damage is done.

CO is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless gas produced when carbon-based fuels, including gasoline, natural gas, propane, coal, oil, or wood are burned without enough oxygen. CO poisoning can happen slowly over time when small amounts of gas are present in the air or quickly when an event occurs that releases a great deal of the gas.

Winter months are especially dangerous when portable gas or oil heaters and generators are used without proper ventilation.

Carbon monoxide detectors will sound an alarm when gas is found so that the area can be properly ventilated and the source of the gas repaired. These units can be battery powered or hooked to a source of electricity. If they are powered by batteries, you will need to check the charge, as battery life varies greatly.

There are detectors that are installed directly into heating systems that will contact emergency personnel when CO reaches a level that is dangerous. CO detectors can be purchased in combination with a smoke alarm.

In the home, some common sources of CO include open flames, space heaters, water heaters, blocked chimneys or running a car inside a garage without proper ventilation or insulation to the home.

Symptoms of CO poisoning include headaches, dizziness, tiredness, nausea, loss of consciousness, pains in the chest or stomach, difficulty breathing, or vision problems. Long term exposure can result in brain damage.

Radon Testing

Why is radon testing important? “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the Surgeon General’s Office have estimated that as many as 20,000 lung cancer deaths are caused each year by radon.

We think that’s a pretty strong call to action.

Did you know that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer?

Radon is a radioactive gas. You can’t see, taste, or smell radon and it may be in the air of your senior’s home. One in three homes tested contain higher than acceptable levels of radon, it is found in every state and is estimated to be in 8 million US homes.

Radon comes from a natural breakdown of uranium found in igneous rock and soil and in some cases well water. Radon released into the groundwater, soil and building materials of your senior’s home is in the air and your senior inhales the gas unknowingly exposing themselves to health risk.

Because it takes years to realize you are exposed, the only way to be aware of radon in your senior’s home is through testing. There are radon test kits and monitors you can purchase to check your senior’s home yourself or get a professional to test. If there are unsafe levels found in the home, these can be corrected.

Other Safety Precautions to Consider

There are a number of items to consider for the safety of your senior’s home, including these.

  • Security cameras – seniors can get a good view of who is around the house and you can monitor remotely to be sure that your senior is safe at home alone.
  • Safes and cash boxes – if your senior keeps valuables and cash in the home and you are afraid they may be targets, a safe will keep their valuables secure when other people are in and out of the home to provide services.
  • Motion sensing lights – there are lights that fit into existing sockets that will go on and off with motion. They can be helpful for the front or back porch or in hallways, closets or the basement or wherever your senior may have difficulty getting the light on in the middle of the night causing a fall.
  • Peepholes – easy to add to an existing door at just the right height so your senior can see who is knocking before they open the door to a stranger.
  • Security doors – specially designed door to withstand forced entry if the neighborhood they choose to live in is not as safe as it once was.
  • Medical alerts – signalers that can alert emergency personnel in the event of a fall or medical emergency can be lifesaving. Many personal emergency response systems can be remotely monitored by family members.
  • Programmable Thermostat – once set you can be sure that your senior’s home is maintained at a comfortable and healthy temperature all throughout the year. Many newer devices allow remote setting and monitoring using a smartphone.

Newer technology and advances in consumer electronics mean that we can help our senior loved ones stay healthy, safe, and comfortable at home a longer than ever before.

These are just some of the items you will want to consider and get installed if your senior’s home doesn’t have them or if the existing devices are malfunctioning or you want the additional functionality of the current devices.

All of these devices can be found in most hardware stores and many department stores, as well as online. You can also find a selection in The Shop at Senior Care Corner®, our convenient store tailored to the needs of family caregivers of older adults.

Could You Be Family Caregiver But Not Realize It?

Are you a family caregiver to a senior friend, neighbor, or loved one?

Many of you who are caregivers would answer that question “no,” not realizing you truly are.

It’s not a label of which one should be afraid or embarrassed to be given, but a reason to be proud.

You are one of the millions of Americans providing care — whether hands-on, ‘just’ helping, or while living a distance away — to loved ones, a group that contributes billions in services to the US economy with payment beyond knowing we are helping someone we love have a better life – – and a “thank you” now and then.

Most important, though, you are THE one for the loved one to whom you are providing care.

Importance of Knowing You’re a Caregiver

Why, you may ask, does it matter if you think of yourself as a family caregiver if you are filling that role for someone?

It really comes down to realizing the impact providing care can have on YOU.

Family caregivers often set aside their own needs while focused on the needs of those for whom they care. Those who don’t see themselves as family caregivers fail to recognize the need to care for their own needs as well as those of others.

While helping your loved one get to their doctor appointments, for example, you might ignore making one you need for yourself because there is not time to do it all.

While helping them get the good meals and rest they need to stay healthy, you might be overlooking those same needs of your own, endangering your own health and ability to provide them the level of care you want to provide.

We Care About the Caregivers, Too

We realize it is important to remind family caregivers to make time to care for themselves, which many simply do not do enough of the time. For some, it may mean reaching out to others for support, which is difficult for many of us to do.

First, though, family caregivers have to identify themselves as such.

Our effort to find creative ways to help more family caregivers realize they are filling that role and get the support they need led us to record the “You Might Be a Family Caregiver” feature film short YouTube video below, a respectful adaptation of Jeff Foxworthy’s signature routine.

The video is, we hope, a cute way to let you know there are many things you can do for senior loved ones that would make you a family caregiver. We know we’ve just scratched the surface so hope you’ll take a look at the video and let us know what additional items we might have listed.

We hope you’ll share the video with those you know who are family caregivers and may not realize it so they understand their needs are important too.

We hope you enjoy the video and find it insightful. We’re looking forward to your feedback!

Family Caregivers of Seniors — What Makes Somebody One & What Do They Look Like?

Millions of us are family caregivers to senior loved ones and the numbers are growing rapidly with the senior population.

No, we’re not going to talk statistics here, in part because we think the official numbers well undercount the real number of family caregivers.

More importantly, though, talking about “millions” misses the point that being a family caregiver is a personal thing for each one of us and the loved one for and about whom we care.

When talking with others, we often hear confusion — or at least differences in definition — about what makes somebody a family caregiver and whether they, themselves, “qualify” based on the role they fill for their loved one.

What Makes Someone a Family Caregiver?

As Kathy noted in an earlier article (“AHA! The Moment You Realize You’re a Family Caregiver to an Aging Loved One“), many don’t foresee becoming a caregiver to a senior loved one or, if they do, can’t predict when their care will first be needed.

Some family caregivers are abruptly thrust into the role, such as in response to a sudden illness of, or serious fall by, a parent or grandparent. Often, though, they realize their role of caregiver has grown gradually, based on their senior loved one’s needs.

Just what does it mean, though, to be providing care for a senior loved one? We use a broad definition, one that encompasses most anything a family member might do to make their senior loved one’s life safer, healthier, more comfortable, or more enjoyable.

That’s right, even making their life more fun!

These are activities that can make you a family caregiver if you perform them for senior loved ones.

  • Helping them get out of bed and dressed for the coming day
  • Preparing meals, even if just the occasional meal you bring by their house
  • Driving them to a doctor’s appointment, shopping, or a social activity
  • Cutting their lawn because they are not able to do it themselves
  • Teaching them how to set up their smartphone and conduct video calls with loved ones
  • Chatting with them from time to time on video calls
  • Stopping by to chat, play games, or even join them in watching their favorite TV show
  • Installing grab bars in their home or taking other actions to make it more accommodating to their needs

There are many, many more things that would qualify one as a family caregiver, but hopefully you get the idea.

Several years ago, we made a short video with a tongue in cheek listing of caregiving activities. Our intentions were two: getting people to think more broadly about what might make them a family caregiver and bringing a smile to family caregivers and (hopefully) brightening their day.

See what you think:

We hope you liked it and that it made you think a little.

Why it’s Important to Realize You’re a Family Caregiver

First — THANK YOU for being a caregiver!

It is fulfilling to know you are making a difference to the life of an older loved one, but can also present challenges to your own life.

Many family caregivers have jobs, businesses, or school from which caregiving takes them away.

Others find themselves in a caregiving sandwich, also providing care to their children or grandchildren.

Often caregivers encounter financial challenges due to helping loved ones financially and/or reductions in income because of time spent providing care.

Family caregivers of all ages prioritize their own health below providing care, even while prodding their seniors to attend to their own healthcare needs.

It’s important that family caregivers set aside time to address their own needs, if not for themselves, then to be able to continue putting all they want into continuing to care for loved ones.

First, though, it is important to realize you ARE a family caregiver and recognize the potential impacts providing care is having on you.

What Does a Family Caregiver Look Like?

Many of you may look at yourselves in the mirror but don’t see a “family caregiver” looking back. You are just a family member doing what you think is right.

After all, you don’t look like a family caregiver, right?

But just what does a caregiver look like?

The truth is that anyone could see a family caregiver staring back at them in the mirror. Caregiving knows no demographic bounds.

You’re not too young, too old, or too anything to make a difference in the life of a senior loved one.

As Mother Teresa once said, “it is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.”

 




 

Falls Change Many Seniors’ Lives – Improving Their Balance Can Help

Does your senior loved one fear falling? Do you fear what a fall could do to them?

Many seniors fear taking a spill, especially if they have taken a serious fall in the past. They know that the danger of losing their balance could mean a broken bone and even a change in their aging in place dream.

The statistics for falls are indisputable — and daunting.

Did you know that every 15 seconds an older adult is seen in an emergency room for a fall-related injury? Worse yet, it is estimated that 21,700 die from falls annually.

Causes of Falls as We Age

There can be many reasons why people fall, especially as we age. Medical condition, functional status and environmental factors all play a role in the potential for falls in seniors, whether they are at home or in a senior living facility.

  • Weakening muscles. As we age, we often lose muscle mass because our eating habits have changed. Our senior loved ones can experience a decrease in the nutritional value of the foods they eat. Perhaps they can’t (or choose not to) cook for themselves, can’t shop or don’t feel they can afford more substantial foods. Seniors also lack adequate levels of physical activity which can lead to a common condition known as sarcopenia or muscle wasting. When our strong muscles become weak, it is more difficult to keep our balance. Loss of balance will lead to falls and injuries.
  • Medications can cause periods of unsteadiness and even dizziness, which could lead to a fall, especially for our senior loved ones who take multiple medications. Because certain medications can make one dizzy, including blood pressure medications, your senior should be careful when standing up from a sitting position if a wobbly feeling results from a rapid change in blood pressure. Shifting incorrectly from one position to another is a leading cause of falls. You can have the list of medications your senior takes each day reviewed by the doctor or pharmacist to see if there may be areas of concern or changes needed in dosage, timing or types of medications they are taking.
  • Dehydration can also lead to falls. When our seniors don’t drink enough fluids they can become confused and light headed and their tissues weakened, too often leading to falls. Many seniors don’t sense thirst as they once did and don’t realize they aren’t drinking enough fluids. They could be purposely cutting down on drinking so that they can have fewer bathroom visits which could compromise their health. They may need reminders to keep drinking enough throughout the day as well as convenient access to fluids.
  • Poor eyesight. If our seniors can’t see where they are going, if there are obstacles or hazards or darkness in their path, they are more likely to fall. If they need an eye exam or updated glasses – or even just a good cleaning of their current glasses – it could help prevent a fall. Also, be sure that all areas have adequate lighting in the house, including stairways, hallways, closets, outside walks and basements. Lighting the way, either daytime or nighttime, will help prevent a fall.
  • Ill-fitting shoes or shoes that have a worn out sole could contribute to a fall. If their shoes have no traction or don’t fit well, getting a new pair that provide good support and a nonskid sole could really help. Also, encourage them not to live in their ‘old slippers’ that could hamper their ability to have sure feet. Proper fitting shoes can provide more than comfort but safety too.
  • Low blood sugar can cause unsteadiness, leading to falls. Testing blood sugar as recommended and following a diabetic diet can help your senior manage their blood sugar to avoid falls. Avoiding frequent ups and downs in blood sugar level through tight glucose control may also help to prevent a fall.
  • Obstacles in the home can also contribute to falls happening to our seniors (and even us too). Clutter, loose throw rugs, wet floors, electric cords in the walking path and even pets can get in seniors’ way and cause a trip and fall. Inspect their home for potential hazards and eliminate them.
  • Getting enough sleep and moderating your senior’s alcohol intake can also prevent potential falls. Being refreshed and clear thinking is important to maintaining balance and preventing injuries.

There is enough research and experience to show that there are many things that we can do as caregivers to help prevent falls from occurring. Some are relatively easy to do and others just need regular reminders.

Physical Activity for Fall Prevention

Your senior loved one can also reduce the likelihood of having a fall – and improve the chances of remaining injury free if they do have a fall – if they stay physically active and maintain strong muscles.

We created this video to demonstrate a few balance exercises most seniors can do. You can practice along with them and encourage them to consistently complete these simple exercises. Remain safe is the key, so begin slowly using a chair to lean on until your senior loved one gains strength.

Balance is something that needs regular practice so these quick exercises should become part of their daily routine not something that happens a few times expecting it to benefit them over the long term.

The exercises are done in 10 second blocks so are not time consuming and can be done anywhere in the home or facility.

We hope you enjoy this caregiver video tip.

These balance exercises are just the beginning. You can do a variety of different types of balance exercises as your senior gains strength. The more they do, the stronger they will be. Add a little music to keep the enjoyment flowing!

These exercises may help them begin to feel more stable on their feet and give them the encouragement they need to do even more activity! That’s a win-win for sure!

We feel strongly that being fearful of a fall should not keep your senior from living their life to the fullest. Falls can be prevented with a little planning and patience. Doing the exercises shown in the video consistently will help your senior gain strength and improve mobility to prevent dangerous trips and falls and hopefully injury.

“Injuries from falls are a major cause of loss of independence for older people. This is a significant public health problem.”

—Dr. Richard J. Hodes, Director, National Institute on Aging

Cutting Your Salt Habit – A Family Caregiver Video Tip

Stroke hits every 40 seconds in the US, with 800,000 Americans each year suffering a stroke.

Strokes kill more than 125,000 Americans each year and leave many more with paralysis and lives that are changed forever.

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a significant contributor to stroke.

Sodium in our diets is a key contributor to hypertension.

Sounds like a good reason to cut our salt habit, doesn’t it? That’s especially true for our senior loved ones – and us if we’re over 50 – if we have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Like many things that are good for us, it’s easier said than done!

We’ve prepared the Family Caregiver Video Tip below to educate you to better help senior loved ones cut salt from their lives.

 

Salt is Hidden in Many Foods

Limiting sodium in our daily diet to less than 2,300 mg is the target for most of us, but our older loved ones who have been told by their doctor they already have hypertension should be cutting it to 1,500 mg or less each day.

As Kathy explained in the video tip, step one in cutting the salt habit is getting rid of the salt shaker, not just from the dinner table but from the kitchen completely. It may take some time but, maybe with some help from the spice rack, it’s just a matter of sticking to it long enough to form the habit.

The other steps take a little more effort. Here are a few of them.

  • Check food labels for the listed sodium content, focusing on those that contain less than 5% of our daily sodium intake; shoot for no more than 700 to 800 mg per meal.
  • Use fresh or frozen vegetables without sauce rather than the canned or processed versions, which have salt added unless specifically labeled no salt added.
  • Limit consumption of foods that are salted and cured, such as hot dogs, bacon, ham and luncheon meats.
  • Avoid foods that are sold in brine (which is a fancy name for salt water), such as pickles and sauerkraut.
  • Check out some new flavors and seasonings in the spice aisle of the grocery store to enhance foods without adding salt (check labels to ensure you’re not getting something with salt added, though).

Another tip from Kathy…check out our recent post on the DASH diet. No, that’s not just another fancy diet, but stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Sounds right on target, doesn’t it.

By taking steps to help our senior loved ones avoid hypertension and fight off stroke, we can help make their lives better!

Drug Safety in Seniors’ Medicine Cabinets – Family Caregiver Video Tip

One potential danger zone that’s often overlooked when family caregivers survey the safety of senior loved ones’ homes is the medicine cabinet.

We work hard to ensure their homes are free of hazards so they can age in place safely and comfortably as long as they wish to do so. Checking their medicine cabinets should be on the list of review items.

As Kathy explains in this Family Caregiver Video Tip, an added benefit of these checks is ensuring the medications our senior loved ones are taking are not out of date and thus safe and at their most effective.

Medicine Cabinet Safety Check

Kathy goes into a number of areas to review and provides some great tips family caregivers can use to help improve not just the safety but potentially also the health of seniors.

  • Check out the dates on over the counter medications, such as pain relievers and cold formulas, and dispose of those that are beyond the date on the container.
  • Don’t forget to look wherever seniors would use and store medicine, including under the sink or even in the kitchen.
  • Track prescription medications seniors are taking using a form such as this medications form we found on the website of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.
  • Properly dispose of prescription medications that are out of date. You might want to check out the medication disposal information discussed in an episode of the Senior Care Corner Show.
  • Where there’s more than one senior living in the home, check the name listed on any prescription medicine containers to ensure they are all being taken by the correct person.

Marking Medication Bottles

One especially helpful tip from Kathy addresses the safety issues inherent in the tiny print on the containers of both prescription and over-the-counter medications. Print so small is difficult to read for many people, let alone older adults with vision that has seen better days. It often seems a real “prescription” for a harmful dosing error.

Enter Kathy and her permanent marker with a great suggestion, not just for seniors’ homes but also those of family caregivers. Watch in the video how she has marked the medication containers with the information older adults need to know in order to use the contents safely.

Please Give Us Your Thoughts

We enjoy putting together these Family Caregiver Video Tips and hope you find them helpful. We have a list of topics in development but want to give priority to needs you identify.

If there is a topic you would like us to cover in one of our videos or in longer form in a future Senior Care Corner Show, please leave us a comment to this post or send us an email through our contact page.

Don’t forget to sign up to receive our updates so you don’t miss a single one of our Family Caregiver Video Tips or any of our future posts!

After Seniors Fall: Getting Up Correctly – A Family Caregiver Video Tip

Falling can result in disabling injuries for seniors, causing loss of independence for far too many and hurting the quality of their lives.

Yeah, but not many seniors really fall, right? Unfortunately, one in three senior adults fall each year. Even worse, those who have already fallen once are even more likely to fall again in the future.

We’ve talked before about trying to prevent falls, but we can’t guarantee that our senior loved ones won’t fall at some point in their lives.

While too many seniors are injured and require emergency medical assistance after a fall, today we’re talking about those who can get up after they’ve fallen.

Getting Up Correctly Video Tip

Yes, there is a correct way for seniors to get up after a fall. For many of us the initial instinct is to reach out, grab their hand or arm, and pull them up. Doing that, however, can make an injury worse and even give them a new one, such as breaking a fragile arm or pulling a shoulder out of its socket. It’s not that we mean them harm, of course, but the bones and joints of many of our senior loved ones are weakened from age and use.

We prepared this Senior Care Corner Family Caregiver Video Tip to educate family caregivers and their senior loved ones on the proper way to get up from a fall.

Watch while Kathy demonstrates the correct way for seniors to get up from falls safely.


No, Kathy was not harmed in the making of this video (hey, work & education can be fun, right!).

Steps to Getting Up From a Fall

What is the right way for senior loved ones to get up after a fall, if they are able? There are several steps to help them get up safely and avoid falling again while doing so.

  1. Have them stay where they are on the floor or ground and lie still for a few moments.
  2. While lying in place, have them perform a self-assessment to determine if they are injured.
  3. If they’re injured, tell them to remain where they are while you summon emergency medical assistance by calling 911 if at home.
  4. If they feel able to get up safely, the next step is for them to roll to one side.
  5. Have them rest on their side for a few moments to allow their body and blood pressure to adjust.
  6. Crawling on hands and knees to the nearest sturdy chair is next. Moving that chair closer to them, if you are able, can make a difference to them.
  7. When at the chair, they should put their hands on the seat of the chair, slide one foot forward so it is flat on the floor and keep the other knee on the floor.
  8. Next, and last, is to have them SLOWLY rise and turn their body to sit in the chair.

These steps to getting up after a fall are in a PDF you can discuss with senior loved ones for their own safety as well as print and post where they’ll be handy if you or another friend or family member is present after a fall.

We hope you find this Family Caregiver Video Tip helpful and informative. You can find this and more on the Senior Care Corner Channel at YouTube.

There are more tips to come so be sure to check back or subscribe to our updates!


Smartphone & Tablet Security Settings – Family Caregiver Video Tip

Seniors are increasingly engaging with family and community using social media, which we believe will help them enjoy better health and lives as they age. This is especially true for those who choose to age in place, living independently in the homes of their choice.

Growing numbers of our senior loved ones are using mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to stay connected to social media and the world around them. We think this is great because it lets them stay connected wherever they go rather than only when they’re at their home computer.

Those mobile devices, though, bring with them risks — including the potential to be left behind or even “walk away” when backs are turned. That’s true for all of us and not just seniors, though the memory loss many experience as they age can make older adults more susceptible to forgetting a mobile device that has been put down and walking away without it.

Securing smartphones and tablets is the subject of this Senior Care Corner Family Caregiver Video Tip, which can be viewed below.

Risks Associated with Lost Mobile Devices

We use our smartphones and tablets for a wide variety of activities — including banking, social networking, email and more — that can make it easy for thieves to drain our bank accounts and steal our identities if they get access to our devices. Unfortunately, we read stories of that happening all the time.

Even if we avoid storing login settings for key apps and websites, merely having access to our email accounts can be enough for others to reset passwords and use many websites as us.

Fortunately, there are simple steps we can take with most smartphones and tablets to protect the data and apps from unwelcome access and sometimes even recover the devices.

Smartphone & Tablet Security Setup Demonstration

In this Family Caregiver Video Tip, I walk through the steps to set up secure access for iPads and iPhones. I demonstrate where to find the settings, shows how to change them and explains some of the security / convenience tradeoffs inherent in the security settings.

We recognize there are many other mobile devices systems in addition to the iOS devices made by Apple and know the steps may be different for seniors and family members who have Android, Windows, Blackberry or other smartphones and tablets.

It’s our hope that understanding the need for security and seeing how easy it can be to add will prompt family caregivers to encourage senior loved ones to protect their mobile devices (and even show them how).

Of course, family caregivers’ devices might be able to use that layer of protection as well. After all, caregivers’ many priorities can make it easy to misplace or leave behind a smartphone — and leave no time for the mess a device in the wrong hands can create.

 We want everyone to stay connected digitally, but to do so safely and securely!

Denture Care & Cleaning for the Health of It – Family Caregiver Video Tip

Eating nutritious food regularly is one of the keys to good health at all ages, our senior loved ones included.

For many seniors, properly fitting and functioning “false teeth” – formally known as dentures – are essential to getting that nutrition and, in turn, giving them a better chance at maintaining good health.

Family caregivers, many of whom don’t have dentures of their own, are often called upon to assist in the care and cleaning of senior loved ones’ dentures. Some may even carry the full responsibility for seniors who are unable to do so for them themselves.

We have prepared this Family Caregiver Video Tip to educate those who don’t know how dentures should be cleaned or stored overnight, not to mention how denture wearers should care for their mouths to prevent sores or problems with their dentures.

Denture Care Tips

Kathy discusses and demonstrates several denture care tips in this Family Caregiver Video Tip.

  • Dentures need care and cleaning each day, just like our natural teeth.
  • Rinsing in cold or warm (but not hot) water to remove any food debris is the first step in cleaning dentures.
  • Brushing with a soft bristled brush is next, nothing fancy just a regular toothbrush will do the trick, to remove any plaque or food debris that didn’t get rinsed off. DO NOT use toothpaste when brushing dentures, as many contain abrasives that can damage dentures.
  • Denture wearers should brush all areas of their mouths – including tongue, gums, cheeks and roof – to get rid of any food particles or other debris that might get under the dentures and cause painful sores.
  • Rinse dentures in water after eating (often reminders will be helpful).
  • Perform denture cleaning over a towel or cloth to reduce the risk of breakage or other damage if they slip or are dropped accidentally.
  • Don’t use bleach to remove stains from dentures, as this could damage them.
  • If dental adhesive is needed, as it is for some wearers for a good fit and hold, use the minimum necessary to do the job and remove it each day during cleaning.
  • Store dentures in a proper container when they’re not being used so they don’t dry out, lose their shape, get lost or become damaged.

Remember, proper denture care is about more than keeping them clean. It’s even more about helping our senior loved ones continue to eat without pain to maintain proper nutrition and the best level of health possible.

We hope you enjoy this video and find it informative.

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