Monthly Archives: January 2018

The Bathroom: How to Make Your Home's Most Dangerous Room Safer

The Bathroom: How to Make Your Home’s Most Dangerous Room Safer

“Help! I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up.” Many may remember this phrase from a popular television commercial by a medical alert company known LifeCall. Even though it aired back in the 90’s, the age of the internet has brought it back to popularity as a meme.

Despite the comical nature it has morphed into today, the danger of senior falls is still a prevalent issue. In fact, the National Institute of Aging reports that more than 1 in 3 seniors over the age of 65 fall each year, and 80% of these falls take place in the bathroom.

Considering the combination of steam, standing water, smooth flooring and transitions to-or-from the toilet or shower/tub, it is easy to see how the bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in you or your elderly loved one’s home. In an effort to reduce bathroom-related injuries January is widely celebrated as National Bath Safety Month.

The following tips will help keep your senior loved one safe in the bathroom and beyond.

Keep the Floors Clear
A normal bathroom floor is typically slick just by itself. Add in water/steam, trash, loose clothes, or improperly secured rugs and you have a recipe for slips, trips and falls. To make sure your bathroom floor stays clean we suggest:

  • Drying water as soon as possible
  • Securing rugs to the floor with grip tape
  • Keeping a laundry hamper in a safe place in the bathroom for loose clothing
  • A trash bin next to the toilet 

Height Matters
Another important aspect of safe bathroom design for seniors is the height of bathroom amenities. Specifically, the height of the sink, toilet, and bath/shower entry. While a complete bathroom overhaul would be ideal, it can be expensive. A raised toilet seat with support bars can make the transition between standing to sitting easier. If you have the money, we also suggest lowering or raising the sink height to match the appropriate height of your senior.

The Tub
In a perfect world, each senior friendly bathroom would include a walk-in tub/shower combo. However, these can be very expensive. If this is out of budget, we recommend finding a tub/shower with a low entry threshold. We also recommend investing in a shower chair. Finally, non-slip mats are another important addition to the inside and exit of the tub/shower.

Make Sure Toiletries are Easy to Reach
The risk of an unintended fall increases when your loved one has to bend over or uncomfortably stretch to reach something they need. Make sure items such as shampoo, soap, razors, loofahs, and other toiletries are placed in an easy to reach location. In addition, you will want to make sure toilet paper is within a comfortable reach of someone sitting on the toilet. Finally, place towel hooks within a safe distance from the shower and sink.

Install Grab Bars
Strategically placed grab bars can help increase your elderly loved one’s safety in the bathroom. We recommend placing grab bars near the tub and toilet.

Lower the Heat
While some people may love a hot shower, we recommend lowering the heat setting on your loved one’s hot water heater. This will prevent them from accidentally scalding themselves with bath or shower water that is too hot. The maximum recommended temperature is 120F.

Improve the Lighting
One final tip we would like to leave you with is to improve the lighting in your loved one’s bathroom. Many bathrooms are dimly lit, and this only increases your loved one’s risk of slipping or tripping over something in the bathroom. A well-lit bathroom will reduce this risk.

Make sure you discuss these tips with your elderly loved one. Although, they won’t eliminate the risk of falling altogether, it will greatly reduce their risk. Feel free to contact us if your loved one is still having trouble with bathroom safety, or you feel it would be safer for a professional to help. We can help your family establish a care plan to personally accommodate your loved one’s needs.

Your Guide To Successfully Teaching Your Senior How To Use Technology

Your Guide To Successfully Teaching Your Senior How To Use Technology

Technology. Some people love it, some people hate it, but there’s no denying, it has made the world a better place. From the simplest technological advances such as the wheel to the most advanced such as pacemakers, technology radically changes the way in which we live on a day-to-day basis.

Considering how important technology is to human life, StoAmigo, a tech company based out of Las Vegas, founded National Technology Day in 2016. The goal of this one day celebration of technology, annually held on January 6th, is to increase awareness of technology as well as inspire people to create new technologies.

For the younger generations, adapting to new technologies is often not a problem since they grew up with the technology. However, for our elderly loved ones, learning a new technology can be intimidating but also fulfilling when accomplished. In fact, recent statistics suggest that 6 in 10 seniors now go online on a regular basis and 77% of older adults now have a cell phone. This is up nearly 10% from 2012.

Despite this promising uptick in elderly technology use, older generations still lag behind in adoption of new technologies. If you have an elderly loved one who is interested in technology or intimidated by new technology, we urge you to keep reading our 7 tips to helping your loved one get comfortable with technology. 

Show Don’t Tell
Many of our elderly loved ones are apprehensive to learn new technology because they are intimidated by it, and have no one to show them how. Instead of telling them they need to get online, show them. For example, rather than telling them about how Facebook can help them stay in contact with family members, log onto your own Facebook with them and show them all of your close family members or friends. Seeing this will help them put it into perspective.

Shop with Them
Once your elderly loved one has made the decision to learn technology, the next step is to purchase the technology. However, this can be intimidating for our them. We recommend going with them to help them find the best tablet, cell phone or computer for their needs. You should also help them shop for the best internet provider in their area. Finally, help them set it all up for the first time.

Take it Slowly
If you’re reading this blog, you have likely been using technology for years and are comfortable navigating the internet at speed. Remember to slow it way down when teaching your elderly loved one technology. Start where they feel comfortable and go through each step multiple times at a slow pace.

Set the Expectation Low
When teaching your elderly loved one how to use technology, keep in mind that it is only easy for you because you have been doing it for so long. Set the expectation level low so they don’t get frustrated when they don’t pick it up overnight. Remind them that most people take a long time to get used to technology.

You Can’t Stress Safety Enough
Technology can go from fun to disastrous in a heartbeat if you or your loved one fail to use technology in a safe manner. Falling victim to online scams is especially easy for those who aren’t well versed in the wide world of the internet. Below are some of the top safety tips to go over with your loved one:

  • Be wary of unsolicited emails and phishing scams. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.
  • Watch your passwords. With the many stipulations organizations put on passwords, it can be hard to remember all of them. Never keep them on your laptop or cell phone. If need be, write them down on a piece of paper and store them in a safe place.
  • Put a strong password on your wifi
  • Get a good anti-virus software

Go to Tech School
If, after all your help your elderly loved one is still having trouble learning technology, there are lots of local organizations that offer free or low-cost technology classes geared directly at older generations. A quick google search or phone call to your local library will send you and your elderly loved one in the right direction.

Bonus Tip: Bookmark Our Blog
On the Wiser Home Care Services blog, we discuss topics regarding technology, healthy living, caregiving, senior safety and more. You can find our blog at http://wisercareservices.com/blog/.

Happy learning.