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A checklist for senior safety

June 24. 2018 10:45PM

Seniors returning home from rehabilitation programs and hospitals face challenges that aren’t always obvious. It’s important to pay attention to all medical and physical limitations, and prepare their homes for safety. Judy Loubier, executive director of Seniors Helping Seniors and LNA Plus in Bedford, offers this list:

1. Set up opportunities for daily check-in visits from family members or caregivers.

2. Attend all doctor visits with your loved one. Ask about medications’ effect on balance.

3. Post latest list of medications on the refrigerator. Keep it up to date. This is especially important if they have to go to the hospital.

4. Get a pill minder. These range from $2.99 at the drug store to more than $100 if you need an auditory prompt and a locking system. Consider a service such as PillPack if your loved one’s medications are generally stable.

5. Look for fall hazards such as throw rugs, thresholds, electrical cords and clutter. Create clear walking paths and be certain that a mobility device can move freely around the living areas. Make sure the path from the bed to the bathroom is clear.

6. Obtain and install appropriate medical and other equipment such as a raised toilet, grab bars, shower bench, and hand-held shower. Provide nonslip bath mats and a bathroom nightlight.

7. Consider lights on timers for evening and motion lights for getting up at night. This includes hallways to the bathroom and stairwells.

8. Arrange needed items such as phones for easy access. Many falls occur when racing to the phone. In the bedroom, lights and a cell phone on a night stand must be easy to reach from the bed.

9. Make sure kitchen items are easy to locate and within reach. Place the microwave on a counter if your loved one can no longer reach cabinet height.

10. Keep stairs free of any items and be sure hand rails are secure. Have stairways well lit.

— Roberta Baker, Union Leader

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