June is National Safety Month. We can ‘celebrate’ this observance by using it each year as a reminder to do those safety checks we know are needed.
As part of National Safety Month, we want to help you prepare your senior’s home to help them age in place safely.
We know your life as a caregiver – whether you are right there or do so from a distance – is filled with many tasks, but spending time in preparing your senior loved one’s home for safety and preparing for emergencies is time well spent and peace of mind for you.
The National Safety Council recommends the following steps that can help get and keep our senior loved ones safe:
- Do a walk-through of your senior’s home. Check safety locks, first aid supplies and smoke alarms replacing worn out batteries. Correct anything you see that is malfunctioning or install it if missing.
- Make a family emergency plan listing where your senior can go in an emergency, what they should bring with them (such as medications, eyeglasses, hearing aids and extra batteries, oxygen, or assistive technologies), how they will get there, and who they should call for help. Everyone should know in advance what will happen in case of emergency.
- Stay informed of weather conditions and potential emergencies in your senior’s area.
- Make an emergency supply kit which includes:
– One gallon of water for each adult for three days
– Three day supply of non-perishable foods and manual can opener
– Battery powered radio or NOAA radio and extra batteries
– Flashlight with extra batteries
– Whistle to call for help
– First aid kit and medications
– Moist towelettes, garbage bags and ties
– Wrench or pliers and dust mask
– Local map
– Copies of important documents in a waterproof container
– Cash, change or travelers checks
– Sleeping bag or blanket for each person
– Chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to treat contaminated water
– Change of clothes including long sleeve
– Fire extinguisher
– Matches in dry storage containe
– Paper and pencil, paper cups/plates
Several more things family members and other caregivers can do to be prepared:
- Learn CPR
- Put the poison control center number near the phone — 1-800-222-1222
- Take a first aid class then create (or update) your senior’s home first aid kit
- Prepare any medical devices for power outages
- Create or update your senior’s personal first aid kit throwing out expired products and getting new ones ready
- Make your senior’s home safer to prevent falls
- Learn about your senior’s drinking water to be sure it is safe from contamination
- Ensure your senior gets all the necessary vaccines, including seasonal flu, pneumonia, shingles, and any recommended by the doctor
- Test your senior’s home for radon using a home radon test kit; if the level indicates, take steps to reduce toxic radon levels
While you are assuring the homes of your loved ones are prepared, take a look at your own. After all, your safety is important too!