Safe-Proofing Bathrooms for Your Aging Loved One

Each time your aging loved one goes into their bathroom, the risk of injury is greater than you may realize. A bathroom which may have served as a perfectly functional and safe area in the past may now need to be re-evaluated for possible hazards. Bathrooms have slippery surfaces, and few dependable things to grasp onto, which greatly increase the chances for harm to your aging loved one. Injuries due to a fall range from minor cuts, scrapes and bruises to more severe injuries, such as broken bones such as hip fractures, head contusions, and even spinal cord injury. Poor muscle strength and balance associated with aging increasing the risk for your loved one. Many falls occur while getting in and out of the tub/shower, sitting down and getting up from the toilet, using towel bars, sink tops, or other surfaces for support.

In addition to decreased strength and balance associated with aging, bathrooms often have shower chairs that are not slip resistant, towel racks that could fall when gripped for support, bathtubs that are hard to get into and out of, slippery surfaces and low toilets that are hard to get up from. These factors along with the physical limitations of aging make for a situation that could serve as a catalyst for a serious injury.

For peace of mind home care, a safer bathroom is an important element.

Below are a several safety measures that you can reduce the risk for you aging loved one:
• Install grab bars for balance
• Purchase a shower chair for less risk to fall
• Install a tub-attached grab bar to help your loved one in and out
• Use a bath bench to transfer in and out of the shower/bath
• Utilize a rubber non-slip bath mat
• Place Non-slip adhesive strips in the bathtub
• Purchase a raised toilet seat to help your loved one up and down
• Place toiletries within your aging loved one’s reach
• Have a companion caregiver nearby for assistance
• Clean soap scum from tubs regularly to prevent slipping
• Have a telephone (or medical alert system)installed in the bathroom
• Make sure that the bathroom area is well-lit

As your loved one ages, keeping them injury free can be as simple as installing safety devices in their bathroom. Prevent injury and a lengthy recovery with the simple measures mentions above as well as consulting with your aging loved one’s companion caregiver about their daily habits. The companion caregiver will be able to help you see areas that may need safe-proofing depending on your loved ones needs in addition to these suggestions. If you are in need of a companion caregiver, give us a call at 828.200.9000 and let’s talk about the best solution to fit your needs.

Stay Calm & Reduce Stress: Medication Management for Your Aging Loved One

Caring for an aging loved one involves juggling a lot of information, i.e. doctor’s appointments, care instructions, medications, and medical lingo. This can lead to a bit of stress for you and your aging loved one but the stress is manageable with thoughtful practices. One of the keys to caring for your aging loved one is making sure that they are taking the correct medication at the right time and watching out for possible dangerous interactions or side effects.

Medication management is simpler when you keep a checklist of all the prescription and over-the-counter medications your aging loved one takes. For each medicine, mark the amount they take, the time of day they take it, and whether it should be taken with food. Note which side effects your aging loved one may experience in coordination with which medications. Keep multiple copies of this list in easy to access places like your kitchen, bathroom, and purse so that you have it handy whenever there is a question.
It may be overwhelming for your aging loved one to remember which medications treat which illness, how often they should take each one, how much to take, and how taking the medication will make them feel physically and mentally. From aspirin to the most sophisticated prescription medicine on the market, all drugs come with side effects. Many are insignificant, some are just an inconvenience, a few are serious, and some are just odd. Perhaps the most common set of side effects for drugs taken internally involves the gastrointestinal system. Nearly any drug can cause nausea or an upset stomach, though it may only happen to a handful of users. Keeping this in mind, might help make your aging loved one more comfortable and less stressed.

The medication management checklist will be a useful tool to keep your aging loved one, yourself, and the companion caregiver informed. Having everyone on the same page with medication management will help your aging adult stay calm and reduce the stress in their lives. In the case of an uncomfortable side-effect, your aging loved one will be comforted knowing which medication may be causing it.
At every visit to the doctor and whenever the doctor prescribes new medicine, review this checklist. The doctor may have new information about the medicines that might be important. If possible, have the health care provider write down advice and instructions for taking each medication. Keep this information handy on the checklist.

When it comes to taking care of your aging loved one, peace of mind home care means reducing stress in any way that you can, and one of those means is to be organized and well-informed. If you are juggling too much information to keep up with, our licensed professionals are trained to issue medication reminders and able to conduct medication reviews to ensure that the medicines your loved one is taking are the right ones. If you would like to discuss how we can help, give us a call at 828.200.9000