1. Protect Against Fire and Related Dangers For Older Adults (Video)
  2. Prevent Poisoning: Carbon Monoxide, Medications, Cleaning products (Video)
  3. Fall Prevention / Safety-proof Your Home For Older Adults (Video)
  4. Protect Against Elder Abuse / Criminals Who Target Older Adults (Video)

Prevent poisonings for Older Adults

Carbon Monoxide

Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by having detectors, not attempting to heat your home with the stove or oven as they give off this deadly gas that cannot be smelled.

Medications

Keep medications in original containers and ask for large print labels so instructions are easy to read, always take medications in well-lit areas to prevent taking the wrong thing.

Bring all of your pill bottles with you to your healthcare provider’s appointments so he or she can look at them and make sure you are taking them correctly.

nce you’ve reached a certain age, one or more prescriptions are likely a part of your daily routine.

Also, if you’re spending time with your grandchildren, you may not be thinking enough about the security of your medications. That oversight could lead to accidental poisoning of younger grandchildren, and abuse by their older siblings. More than 80% of the 2,000 grandparents polled said they keep their medication in its usual spot when their grandchildren visit—and 72% carry them in a purse or bag when they go to visit their grandkids.

“According to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 40% of children treated in emergency departments for medication-related poisoning took their grandparents’ medicines,” the university notes.

Polypharmacy (Taking Multiple Medications)

Why: Polypharmacy means taking multiple medications. It’s a problem mainly because as people get older, they become especially at risk for harm from medication side-effects or interactions. According to the CDC, every year 177,000 older adults visit the emergency room due to medication problems.

Polypharmacy also burdens older adults because purchasing all those drugs can be costly, plus it can be a real hassle to have to take medications at several times every day. Last but not least, when people have been prescribed many medications, it’s harder for them to take them correctly. This can lead to worsening of a chronic condition, or even misguided medical care as doctors may fail to realize that a patient hasn’t been able to take all medication as directed.

Note: The main thing you should know is that many older adults are taking medications they don’t really need. It’s basically much easier for doctors to prescribe medications than to “deprescribe.” Research has documented that inappropriate prescribing of medications is common. A careful medication review will often identify medications that are marginally useful or no longer necessary, but you may not get such a review unless you request it.

Cleaning products

Be extremely careful with cleaning products. Do not mix bleach with anything other than water, it is just best not to mix any cleaning solutions together unless you have previous experience doing so.

Today the number of older adults living independently is larger than it has been in years and that number continues to increase. It is very important to ensure that our older loved ones are safe inside their homes. Falls, burns, and poisoning are some of the most common accidents involving senior citizens, it is not uncommon for a serious mishap to occur. This is why it is so important if you are an older adult living on your own or care for an older person living alone to take precautions and make sure that home is safe, and you are prepared should something arise.

Keep Emergency Numbers Handy

Keeping a list of emergency numbers near the phone in the case that something happens is a great idea. This way they will be right where you need them when you need to act fast. Make sure to write them out large and clear enough to read easily when you are in a hurry and stress is heightened.

Numbers to Include:

  • 911
  • Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222
  • Family Members and Friends that can help and should be notified right away
  • Primary Healthcare Provider

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