When you have a loved one who is in their 70s, 80s, or even 90s, you understand that he or she has spent many years taking care of himself or herself. As a result, you may not think that they need any tips on how to keep safe or what to do in the event of a minor emergency, such as a cut or abrasion. However, first aid tips and refreshers are important for senior home safety. The reason for this is that sometimes elderly individuals either become too complacent or neglect safety elements within their home. They might have been living a certain way for years, so they don’t think much about the inherent risks involved with problems that might have been addressed in a simple and easy to determine manner years earlier.
For example, they might have cleaned out a simple cut with hydrogen peroxide and then slapped a Band-Aid on it. That may be more than enough now, but in reality, their immune system is not as strong as it once was and the risk of infection can sometimes be greater as a result.
It’s a good idea to go over basic first aid with your parent or loved one, even if they already know how to care for themselves. First, focus on what to do if they have a medical emergency. They should know to call emergency services, or 911, first. They shouldn’t make their first call to you, even if you want them to, because if you are busy or don’t hear to phone, you may not be able respond in a timely fashion. Also, 911 could already be dispatched and on route to your parent’s home when and if they are able to call you.
Discuss how to properly dress a wound for their current physical health. Blood thinners, which are sometimes common among elderly individuals, can make it difficult for a wound, even a small one, to stop bleeding. They may require a different solution or add pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding.
They should also be acutely aware of the risks of infection, even from a simple cut.
For burns, they may not feel that a serious burn is as bad as it might be. Make sure that they have enough supplies on hand to tend to wounds and burns and anything else that may arise and also be sure to have an emergency contact list in a location where they can easily find and access.
When it comes to senior home safety, first aid may seem common sense, but since the body changes as we age, it’s a good idea to discuss it openly.