Elderly Home Safety Assessment – A Crucial Care Need

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Introduction

Caring for the elderly involves other activities besides what is done by medical professionals or capable loved ones; administration of the recommended drugs; using acceptable care facility – own home or some agency; and using proper care equipment and supplies. One other care need is the Elderly Home Safety Assessment. 

Let me explain: There are, indeed, many areas in the elderly safety concerns subgroup. These could range from personal hygiene to more elaborate safety concerns like physical or emotional danger. Spread in between these two extremes are concerns about the drugs administered and the quality of care services. This blog is focused on physical danger, specifically the danger posed by the side effects of the drugs and or the disability itself.

Current Realities

Because of great improvements in medicine, healthcare and delivery, mobility, sanitation, nutrition, and assistive living, lifespan has improved tremendously and peoples are now living much longer. They are living independent lives, with many opting to spend their golden years in their own homes among their loved ones.

While all sounds good, the problems associated with old age are only minimized but not eliminated, making constant Elderly Home Safety Assessment, crucial.

The Most Common Diseases

The following is the list of, (from the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists), the most common chronic diseases afflicting most of the elderly:

Adult-onset diabetes, Arthritis, Dementia, Kidney, and bladder problems, Glaucoma, Lung disease, Parkinson’s disease, etc.

If an elderly person is cared for by the loved one or healthcare professionals, and all the drugs and required supplies readily available, one might wonder why safety concerns could be an issue. I know what you are thinking! Many times some caregivers particularly loved ones of the elderly, who maintain regular jobs outside the home, rarely worry about safety or danger to their patients. Let me explain why:

Before they leave their patients, they make sure hygiene, feeding and personal security are taken care of. Even, some caregivers go as far as arranging with neighbors, employing part-time nursing aides, a relative or even a friend to keep an eye on things for him.

Some even install digital monitors to enable them to watch for things from wherever they may be. In many care facilities, safety monitoring maybe twenty-four hours. With these measures, why safety concerns?

Some Difficulties

The caregiver may be taking care of a Dad or Mom who, in their days, were very active, but now, refuses to heed the dictates of old age. Some grandmothers will insist on preparing dinners without help. She used to enjoy doing that and even now, feels obligated to do the same for the grandchildren. Of course, she loves to cook for her grandchildren and wants to make herself useful in the house.

You can see the grandfather driving, the objections of the children can’t stop him. Or you may see him on the roof of the house carrying out some repair work. That was what he used to do before.

It is difficult for him to accept the facts of old age! The resistance is greater when the grandparent does not suffer from any physical disability or rather, healthy for his age. This situation makes safety monitoring very important.   

However, these seniors need some sympathy and understanding when dealing with their situations. Their feelings are natural.

To avoid adding stress on or upsetting their parents, many loved ones have devised different ways to discourage them from performing certain tasks or taking part in activities they consider unsafe to the parents. My friend simply disconnects the battery to the father’s car. My friend knew better not to take away the keys from him.                                                                                                                     

 Areas of Concern          

                                                                                                         

Diabetes

A healthy senior citizen suffering from diabetes, may not have any observable manifestation of the disease. The onset gives no warning. The sufferer may experience a sudden attack of hypoglycemia that can induce unconsciousness. It could happen while driving or performing any number of activities.

Think of the consequences of such an attack while driving or on top of a roof, by himself in a park or even when taking a shower in his own bathroom? Luckily, thebabyboomerhub.com has an effective answer to that. 

Dementia

Another disability to be considered when assessing elderly home safety is Dementia, a condition characterized by a decline in memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking skills that affect a person’s ability to perform normal, everyday functions. Memory loss is only a manifestation of while Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.

Again, consider the disastrous effect on a senior that insists on doing things he/she, “had been doing all his life”. If not watched twenty-four hours per day, such a person might find him/herself wandering about in another city, state, without knowing where he was or why he was there. Such a Dad or Mon can get electrocuted, burnt by hot plates or even hot water due to forgetfulness. What a disaster if such an elderly person is left to take care of a baby.

Parkinson’s Diseases

Another common affliction associated with old age is Parkinson’s disease – a disorder of the nervous system. It generally attacks the mobility system of the body. It starts gradually but progressively as a tremor in any of the limbs, though stiffness which slows movement may occur. Again, the onset gives no warning. Picture such a senior trying to feed himself or hold a cup of coffee or try to perform any of the functions of the previous years?

Glaucoma

Another common disease whose effects should be considered when assessing elderly home safety is Glaucoma. Simply defined, is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve. Of course, damaged optic nerves can’t support good vision. Hence, it can lead to blindness for people generally over sixty years old.

The effects on normal everyday living are clear. In the grocery store, for example, a sufferer will need assistance reading labels or even negotiating his/her way. Also in the home, the elderly person is subject to bumping on things. Again, picture the disaster if such a person is allowed to drive, take a walk in the street, etc. without a guard.         

The final three diseases, Arthritis, Kidney and bladder problems, and Lung disease, are considered together because they generally don’t creep on you without warning. This does not make them less deadly if not managed right.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a disease of the joints and can easily be identified by the pain felt at the joints. As the attack progresses, stiffness may set in. It does not get better. And it exacerbated with aging. Healthcare professionals simply manage it by providing soothing comfort to the patient.

Kidney and Bladder Diseases

Kidney and bladder disease can easily be identified and also worsens with age. Leakage or urinary incontinence is an early symptom. If a patient is unable to hold the urine, or completely empty the bladder, the disease has become chronic. And healthcare professionals apply different methods and employ different care supplies to treat or manage them. 

Lung Disease

The last disease is Lung disease. This is one of the diseases that strike without notice. To a layperson or a caregiver, when a cough persists or refuses to go away or even followed by coughing out blood or shortness of breath, a visit to a doctor becomes urgent.                                                                                                              

               

It is the doctor that can diagnose and prescribe treatment. This is one of the reasons constant Elderly Home Safety Assessment is important. There is little to nothing can an elderly person, particularly a very sick one, do by him/herself?

Side Effects of Drugs

Another area where a patient can be exposed to danger, requiring safety measures, is the side effects of drugs. Many times, patients are warned not to, for example, drive, operate certain machinery, eat certain foods, etc., when taking certain drugs. Side effects of such drugs could be dizziness, weakness. Some drugs can affect the immune system of the body, predisposing it to infections.

Conclusion

It is in the best interest of the elderly and for the peace of the mind of the caregiver to maintain a routinely regular Elderly Home Safety Assessment. Though one of the care needs of the elderly, regular safety monitoring is among the most crucial to prevent an unexpected incident like death or costly trips to the emergency rooms, from happening.

Two types of disabilities from the safety concerns subgroup are explored here: those whose effects occur without warning like hypoglycemia from diabetes, forgetfulness from dementia; tremor in the limbs from Parking’s disease; blindness from glaucoma. And those, though equally deadly if not managed right, that can easily be identified like lung disease, kidney and bladder, and arthritis.

Science and technology have made these diseases non-lethal anymore if discovered in time through regular safety monitoring and applying proper care management.

And thebabyboomerhub.com has and ready to supply all the sources for all the care equipment and supplies for your elderly care needs. The three items shown above are of course samples, hand-picked from their groups. I know from experience that those can save you a lot of emergencies. They are worth getting. 

Thanks for visiting our site.

 

Comments ( 11 )

  • Rodarrick

    Hmm! I never thought about the potential risks that my parents have been exposed to since all these days because I left them alone in a new apartment. Having read this post now, it is totally a no-brainer tohave a means of monitoring them to prevent any sort of fatal injuries happening to them. This is massive and I’m delighted that you have shared this here. Thank you so much for this. I will check out the tools you have shared here

    • admin

      Hi Rodarrick

      Thanks for your time.

      I approved your comment because it met the guideline. And besides, you gained some new perspectives on elderly care – safety. So, the blog post achieved its purpose.

      Cal.

  • Nuttanee

    The same thing happened to my aunt when she developed her type 2 diabetes at the old age. She used to be able to walk around and do things her self. However, her condition got worse and she had to be in the wheelchair and couldn’t eat what she wanted to eat. I have to say it was not easy to take care of her. I get where she is coming from but have to listen to her negativity and deal with attitude was just hard, and I was her family. I can only imagine what it would be like when it would be like for the caretakers. Seniors can be stubborn. 

    Thank you for sharing the equipment. 

    • admin

      Hi Nuttanee:

      Thanks for your time to read and comment on my post. I agree with you; it is difficult to manage some elderly people because in part, in part, because of the effects of losing their freedom to do what they used to enjoy doing. Who would not? This is why the blog advocates for patience.

      Cal.

  • Vasilij

    We have had (and still do) many problems trying to persuade our grandmother (now 89 of age) to stop doing errands around the farm, at least the more dangerous one, especially around the animals. We didn’t have much success (she is very stubborn) – it took a couple of falls and injuries to make her realize herself she can’t do it anyomore.

    These days she is staying clear off the hardest chores, but still helps around a lot – it is this urgency of work that makes her get up in the morning and eventually keeps her alive by feeling useful. Taking everything away would be bad for her.

    • admin

      Hi Vasilij

      Thanks for reviewing my blog post. You verified the main trust of this blog using personal experience. In many cases, many elderly people may appear to be stubborn. No, it was frustration from being unable to participate in routines she was used to and enjoyed doing. Who would not? My blog advocates being patient with them. Sorry, she had to learn from her bitter experience.

      Cal.

  • DreaJay

    Wow, it’s always rare to see articles like this discussing about the seniors and about their safety, it’s always a hard thing to discover whenever these elders are not balanced physically even emotionally, they are very good at hiding issues, well I think it’s our own job to find out, lol. Most of the drugs out there are always with one or two side effects and most times, instead of healing the issue they are used for, they add more. It’s true that some seniors maybe difficult sometimes and this always leave them at a dangerous end. Thanks for suggesting these products, they will be of great use and help to keep our seniors safe, it’s so thoughtful of you. 

    • admin

      Hi DreaJay.

      Thanks for your time.

      Reading through your comment, it was clear to me you read and captured the essence of the post. And you also offered some perspective on some elderly behaviors and side effects of some of the drugs meant to cure or manage the disability.

      Based on these I approve your comment. Thanks. 

  • Mugalu Mansoor

    Thank you very much for this great article.

    This age group is often neglected by many but am happy that you decided to provide this useful information . Actually these diseases is a big problems for seniors; l just lost my grandpa last year due to kidney failure. I once again thank you for this useful information

    • admin

      Hi Mugalu:

      Sorry, you lost your grandpa to Kidney failure. I am happy this blog post has provided some perspectives on how to handle future occurrences. Thanks for your time. 

       

  • Mugalu Mansoor

    Thank you very much once again,

    I came to notice that there is away you understand this age group. I told about my grandpa, before he died this is the actual way he used to behave; He used to do risky things like cycling in town and doing a lot of house work. He died at 88 but he looked strong till the last month of his life.

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