What comes to mind when you think of June? You probably think of Father’s Day, the first day of summer, beaches, vacation and other summer related activities. But there’s something else that you should think about, and that is National Safety Month! Of course, safety should be remembered 365 days in the year, but this June we want to encourage you to learn more about safety issues that can impact the lives of you and your loved ones.
The National Safety Council designated this year’s theme as “SafeForLife.” Each week in June is divided into a different safety topic. Below you’ll learn more about each topic, especially when it comes to older adults who may live at home or in a senior living community.
WEEK 1: STAND READY TO RESPOND
From a slip and a fall at home to a natural disaster, anything can happen at any time. The most important question to ask yourself is if you will be ready? Preparation is the key, especially when you only have seconds to act.
Below are some important questions you want to be able to answer “yes” to in the case of an emergency:
- Is anyone in your home trained in First Aid or CPR?
- Does your family have an emergency plan at home?
- Is your loved one’s senior living community prepared for an emergency?
TIP: If your loved one stays in a senior living community or you’re looking into making that move, Forbes contributor Jacob Edward recommends that you stop by the management office to get details about the facility’s emergency plans. Find out how new staff are trained about the plan and how often the employees are updated.
The Assisted Living Federation of America has an emergency preparedness toolkit that outlines standard procedures and suggestions for assisted living facilities and other senior communities. You can use this tool as a guide to help you know what to ask for.
WEEK 2: BE HEALTHY
Every day you make decisions that have a direct impact on your health. From making smart food choices to exercising regularly, these decisions can help you stay in good shape and avoid injuries. However, when injuries do occur, you can still protect your health when deciding what medications to take. However, the National Safety Council wants to make sure you are aware of the dangers. According to the Council, 52 people die from prescription opioid overdoses every day. That’s why they recommend you know the signs of opioid painkiller addiction and talk to your family about the risks of those medications.
Medications are essential for the care of seniors. When used appropriately, medications are effective treatments for acute and chronic conditions. For tips and more information on proper medication management, check out this guide from AssistedLivingFacilities.org.
WEEK 3: WATCH OUT FOR DANGERS
Falls are the leading cause of death for older adults. The National Safety Council recommends the following tips to ensure their safety:
- Use non-skid mats in the bath and shower
- Install grab bars in the tub, shower and near the toilet, and railings on the stairs
- Provide adequate lighting in every room and stairway
- Place nightlights in the kitchen, bathroom and hallways
- Keep often-used items like clothing and food easily accessible to avoid stools or ladders
WEEK 4: SHARE THE ROADS SAFELY
Motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of unintentional-injury-related death overall, according to the National Safety Council. However, you can change these statistics by changing your actions. The Council recommends that you slow down on the roads, eliminate distractions like your cell phone, buckle up and watch out for children.
Also, when it comes to older drivers, did you know that the risk of a fatal crash increases for drivers older than 70? That’s according to the CDC. If you think it’s time to determine whether driving or public transportation is the better option for your older loved one, check out these resources from NHTSA. You will find advice on modifying cars for older drivers, how to talk with them about driving and medical conditions that can affect driving.
At Morrison Community Living, we understand the importance of safety in senior living facilities and we celebrate the National Safety Council’s campaign to help everyone stay SafeForLife.
Check out our recent blog post to see more safety tips for seniors.
We’d love to know how are you celebrating National Safety Month and staying SafeForLife. Let us know in the comment section below.