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Senior Health (cont.)

Safety Measures for Seniors

Important home safety measures are recommended to elderly patients and their family members. Simple home safety recommendations for seniors include:

  • Canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters for safe mobility and independence
  • Shower seats if unsteady on feet
  • Carpeted floors instead of hard floor (and avoiding placing area rugs on slick surfaces) for injury reduction in case of falls
  • Hearing aids, glasses, and good lighting to aid hearing and visual problems
  • Pill boxes for medication management
  • Help from care givers or family members if activities of daily living (ADLs) become difficult
  • Routine sleep and wake times for improving sleep quality and day time efficiency
  • Medical alert systems and readily available emergency phone numbers programmed into cell phones
  • Regular social activities to optimize social interactions
  • Careful driving and recognizing when it may be safer to no longer drive
  • Properly executed advance health care directive, living will, and trust to outline decisions
  • Properly documented financial and estate planning to avoid future confusion
  • Adequate planning and preparation (know allergies, medical problems, surgeries, medicines and other information) in case of an emergency

Activities of daily living (ADLs) indicate basic ability to care for personal needs. There are 6 ADLs and include

  1. ambulating (walking),
  2. transferring (getting up or changing position),
  3. dressing (putting on clothing),
  4. eating,
  5. toileting (using the bathroom), and
  6. hygiene (washing, brushing teeth).

Most people are able to independently perform these functions. Some or all of these tasks may be difficult to perform for the elderly as they get older either as a part of their overall decline or because of an underlying illness. It is important to recognize when ADLs become burdensome and when to summon help from family members or care givers.

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