Monthly Archives: January 2017

Bath Safety: These 15 Simple Tips Could Save Your Life

The month of January is not only host to several popular holidays including New Year’s Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but also some lesser known national celebrations such as National Bath Safety Month.

Celebrated annually, the goal of National Bath Safety month is to raise awareness of the potential dangers that could arise in the bathroom, and how to prevent bathroom injuries.

Many studies have found that nearly 1/3 of falls that occur in the house take place in the bathroom. This makes bathroom not only the most frequented room in a house, but also the most dangerous.

According to statistics released by the Center for Disease Control each year, more than 235,000 people visit the emergency room due to injuries suffered in the bathroom, and more than 2/3 of these injuries take place in the bath or shower.

While studies and statistics both support the claim that the bathroom is the most dangerous room in a house, these types of accidents are oddly often overlooked as a cause for concern.

Fortunately, with the right safety precautions many of these bathroom injuries can be prevented. Keep reading this week’s blog to learn fifteen ways to keep your elderly loved one safe in the bathroom.

  1. Install a non-slip strips or a mat in the bottom of your elderly loved one’s tub.
  2. Have reachable hand rails installed near the toilet, tub and sink.
  3. Keep the bathroom floor clean of laundry, towels and other clutter.
  4. Consider installing a toilet that is at the appropriate height for your loved one. A lot of falls happen getting on and off the toilet.
  5. You will also want to adjust the height of their sink and towel racks so they don’t have to reach or bend over too far.
  6. Move towel hooks closer to the shower to reduce water droplets on the floor.
  7. Many falls happen in the transition in and out of the shower or tub. Ideally, your loved one should have a walk-in tub or shower to reduce the risk of a fall. If you cannot afford one, you should look for a solution that has a low lip entrance.
  8. Consider placing a shower seat in the tub or shower.
  9. Dry up water as soon as it hits the floor.
  10. Consider installing a removable shower head that will allow your loved one to shower while seated.
  11. Keep the appropriate toiletries within reach of the sink, shower and toilet.
  12. Install nightlights in the bathroom and down the hallway entrance
  13. Utilize a scald prevention device to keep the water at safe temperature levels.
  14. Use door locks that can be unlocked from both sides in case of an emergency.
  15. Finally, keep a portable phone in the bathroom.

There are plenty of steps you can take to keep your elderly loved one safe in the bathroom. Through working together to raise awareness of bathroom safety, we can save the lives of hundreds of our loved ones.

As always, if you care for an elderly loved one and would like help caring for or developing an extensive care plan, we can help. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

The Wiser Home Care Guide to Reducing Winter Falls

Right now, we are pretty jealous of the birds. How nice would it be if we could simply pick up and fly south for the winter? Seriously though, it hasn’t even been an entire month of Winter yet, and we are already ready for it to be over.

Unfortunately, it appears that the cold weather is here to stay for another couple of months. So, we may as well buckle down, make the best of it and make sure our elderly loved ones stay safe.

With all the snow and ice, we have been having lately, we thought it would be timely to write an article outlining several ways you can help prevent your loved one from experiencing a fall this winter.

Our elderly loved ones are at a high risk of experiencing falls in general, and when you add in the extra variables of snow and ice, the risk of a fall grows exponentially. In fact, throughout the course of a year, statistics from the Center for Disease Control show that 1.6 million Americans over the age of 65 go to the Emergency Room to be treated for fall-related injuries. Even more alarming is the fact that nearly 1/3 of these falls leads to a permanent disability, and on top of that, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death in persons older than 75.

Luckily, many of these falls can be avoided with the proper safety and risk avoidance protocols. Keep reading to learn how you can help reduce your elderly loved one’s risk of experiencing a fall or fall-related injury this winter.

Watch What’s on Their Feet
Making sure your elderly loved one wears the right shoes is critical. Their shoes should fit correctly, provide good traction on the heel and sole and be appropriate for the weather. Some shoe manufacturers also provide shoes with special anti-skid soles to reduce the risk of a slip or fall.

Clear the Way
Many falls occur in transition zones throughout the house which is why having a clean and clear walkway between the front door and the car is important. If you do not live close to your elderly loved one, we suggest finding someone you can trust, and hiring them to shovel snow and ice off the sidewalk on a regular basis. They should also apply de-icing material to prevent ice from accumulating.

Lend a Helping Hand
When the weather is bad, we recommend that elderly loved one’s refrain from venturing out. A good way to make sure your loved one doesn’t have to venture out is to run errands for them. You’ll want to make sure they have plenty food and supplies including flashlights, batteries and blankets. In addition, having the mail or newspapers delivered right to the door will ensure your loved one doesn’t need to go outside unless absolutely necessary.

Watch Your Step
Even if a walkway is clear of snow and appears to be clear of ice, your elderly loved one should proceed with caution. Blacktop in parking lots is notorious for appearing just wet, but cold weather can create black ice in a matter of minutes. If your elderly loved one is out in inclement weather, try finding grass or gravel to walk on, as it is generally less slick than pavement.

Can We Fix it? Yes, You Should.
Falls often happen because of surfaces that are unstable or in disrepair. These types of falls are easily avoidable by checking all walkways, stair cases, stepping stones, sidewalks and hand rails. Fix or replace any that are loose, have cracks, raised edges, rotten boards or any other disorder.

Exercise and Eat Right
Keeping your loved one active and healthy will go a long way in helping reduce falls. Staying active will keep your loved one’s muscles limber and help them stay balanced. In addition, keeping a healthy diet will help keep muscles and bones strong to further help safeguard against broken bones in case of a fall.

Always Have a Back Up Plan
Despite all the precautionary measures you and your loved one take, sometimes there is nothing you can do to prevent a fall. It is important to have a backup plan in case your loved one experiences a fall. Whenever they travel, your elderly loved one should have a cell phone on their body. In addition, using the buddy system when traveling is critical. This will ensure that someone will be there for them when they fall.

Finally, remember to take your time. Rushing around is a good way to increase the risk of a fall. As always, if you care for an elderly loved one and would like help caring for or developing an extensive care plan, we can help. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

7 Ways to Ensure Resolution Success

7 Ways to Ensure Resolution Success

With nearly a week of 2017 under our belts, we hope you are having success with your resolutions this year. Statistically speaking, the first week of the new year is the hardest on New Year’s Resolutions.

In fact, per the website, 25% of people who make a resolution, fail in the first week. After week 1 there is a steady decline in successful resolutions, and by June over 55% of people who make resolutions have failed to uphold them.

You see, making a New Year’s Resolution is the easy part. The difficulty lies in keeping and succeeding at your resolution. If you are having trouble keeping your resolution, don’t feel bad because you aren’t alone. Just keep reading our blog to find out what you can do to ensure you have resolution success all year long.

Pick One Resolution to Focus On
As caregivers, we know how easy it is to spread yourself thin and try to be a superhero. The problem with spreading yourself thin is that you’re only performing at a fraction of your best on each thing you do. The key is to pick one of your resolutions to focus on at a time. This will allow you to put all your effort to bettering yourself in that area. Once you have either successfully completed your resolution or have a good handle on it, then you can move on to the next one.

Break it Up
Many resolutions tend to be massive life changes. Instead of biting off too big of a chunk and getting overwhelmed, you should break your resolution into smaller pieces. For example, if your goal is to pay off debt, start with the card that has the least amount of debt then work your way to the bigger debts. Not only will this be more manageable, but the completion of each little goal is a tiny victory that motivates you to keep going.

Phone a Friend
Using the good ol’ buddy system is a great way to make sure you don’t fall off the wagon. Make sure you pick a friend that will keep you accountable rather than enable you to fail. In addition, you could invite your friend to make a similar resolution in their own life so that you can work together to reach your goals.

This is How You Remind Me
Many of us make resolutions because we are tired of things being the way they are. A good motivator to stay successful is to remind yourself of why you wanted to make the change in the first place. Many personal trainers do this to their clients by making clients workout with the extra weight they lost. For example, if a client loses 10lbs, the trainer makes them walk around with a 10lb weight to remind them of what it was like to be heavier.

Have a Plan for Setbacks and Temptation
Let’s face it, we aren’t perfect and there is bound to be some setbacks and temptations along the way. Just remember that these are normal and don’t let them get you down. Having a plan in place will help you keep moving forward despite a setback. This also ties into reminding yourself of why you wanted to change in the first place.

Make Time for Your Resolution
These changes aren’t going to happen overnight. Sometimes they take weeks, months or even years to successfully complete. The key is to stay consistent. In fact, science shows us that for a behavior to become a habit takes no less than 21 straight days.

Focus on the Journey
The old Proverb couldn’t ring more true: a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. Celebrate the tiny victories by focusing on the journey rather than the destination. This often makes it easier to enjoy what you are working towards.

We hope these tips help you succeed in whatever resolution you made this year. As always, we are here to help.

Happy New Year from Wiser Home Care Services.