Articles of Interest

Respite Care Programs and Home Care Nurses Ensure Senior Safety

There's no place like home. Many elderly people prefer living in the comfort of their own house and can do so comfortably with the help of elder care nurses and respite care programs. However, living home alone can be dangerous for some elderly individuals, who become prone to home accidents as they age. It's possible for your loved one to remain in the comfort of their living space, but their safety should be a priority. Elderly people are at a much higher risk of injuring themselves in their own home environment. Seniors can benefit from a little extra safety or support from easy home modifications, and enjoy their independence. Home care nurses are available to ensure senior's living spaces are safe, when they're visiting or when away. Home care nurses and respite care programs serve to make senior citizen's home environments and quality of life safer and more secure.

Every year, many elderly Americans injure themselves in or around their homes, and this is especially true for senior loved ones, who are at risk of falling. According to the National Safety Council, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths to individuals age 65 and older.

Staying Fit: Both mentally and physically, it's important for seniors to keep up their health. It's a good idea to keep both the mind and the body agile, for better judgment, clarity and decision-making. When the mind is clear, one is able to make better decisions, as well as be active physically. Mental stimulation, such as crossword puzzles, Sudoku, board games, and reading have been proven to enhance brain fitness. A sharp mind is key in avoiding home accidents, as is mental stimulation by physical companionship. Home care nurses provide these services.

Prevention: Home Care nurses can identify and lessen fall risks and other safety risks for older folks who choose to live at home, the most important being fall prevention, and minimizing injury from falls. This is especially important as 1 in 3 seniors falls each year. It's a good idea to wear a hip-protecting garment if prone or at an increased fall risk, and this garment can reduce the possibility of a hip fracture. Respite care programs can recommend effective protection. Sedentary seniors are at greater risk of osteoporosis and are more prone to fractures. A home care nurse or respite care program alongside care from relatives can help keep seniors active, confident, and keep up their activity level, in addition helping them about the house. Home care nurses take care of activities, such as cleaning or maintenance that could pose a risk.

Minimizing Risks: Respite care programs that provide home care nurses for seniors are a godsend in the event of an injury or accident. In a worst case scenario, an elderly person could fall and remain on the floor, injured for several hours or days because they live alone, are unable to move, or are unable to make a phone call. Home care nurses regularly check in, call, and visit elderly loved ones to ensure they are cared for and safe. Should a senior suffer a fall or accident, home care nurses get help quickly.

As the kitchen is one area in the home that can pose danger for seniors, we've put together a few suggestions for senior safety.

Identifying and Preventing Hazards in the Kitchen:

Lighting: All switches should be within easy reach, and all areas of the kitchen must be well lit.

Water: If possible, adjust the water heater so that water temperature cannot be hotter then 100 or 120 degrees F to lessen the chance of burns and scalding.

Fire: Remind your loved one to never wear loose garments, pajamas, or other similar garments while cooking to minimize risk of catching on fire. Keep a fire extinguisher close and discuss fire safety and an exit plan.

Space: Reduce clutter on the kitchen counter, and kitchen floor. Avoid using cleaning products that result in a waxed floor surface, and avoid small throw rugs and other slippery or obstructive floor coverings.

Tools: There are many devices that help elderly individuals in the kitchen, such as jar openers, rocker knives, thick handled utensils.

Home care nurses can assist with food and meal preparation, as well as take care of quick fixes for kitchen safety. We encourage you to learn more about respite care programs, which provide relief for family members and relatives who care for their loved ones regularly, as well as home care nurse services. Home care nurses are available to ensure your loved one is safe, and can enjoy living in the comfort of his or her own home.

Bio: Erica Ronchetti is a freelance writer for Visiting Angels, the nation's leading, network of non-medical, private duty home care agencies providing senior care, elder care, personal care, respite care and companion care to help the elderly and adults continue to live in their homes across America. Visit the Visiting Angels website to find out more information on home care nurses and respite care programs.

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.