Category Archives: Emergency Care

Staying Safe When The Temperature Rises

Recent heat waves pose as much of a health risk for your aging parents as do winter storms or hurricanes. It is not unheard of for people of all ages to succumb to extreme heat. There are many ways to keep yourself, and the elderly people in your life, safe and protected during a heat wave.

What are the dangers of a heat wave?

Heat waves can be dangerous for anyone of any age, but they are more dangerous for the elderly, babies and young children. As you age, your body is less able to regulate its temperature and the elderly may be more impacted by the effects of the heat than they realize.  As the body’s temperature control centers are less sensitive, they may not “initiate the correct cooling mechanisms within the body when it becomes overheated” and this can lead to heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses. Medications can also lead to insensitivity to heat fluctuations.

Here are a few tips on how to cool off when the thermometer rises:

  • Stay out of the sun.
  • Close the curtains in the home to prevent the sun from heating up the interior.
  • Run the air conditioner or fans throughout the house. Open windows slightly to create a cross breeze.
  • Stay indoors and don’t plan on walking or exercising out of doors until the sun goes down and the temperatures drop.
  • Dress in light colored and lightweight clothing.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Take a cool shower or place cool water compresses on your body to help cool it down.

Taking measures to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke is very important and can mean the difference between early intervention and a serious medical concern.

Carbon Monoxide: Danger you can’t see, taste or smell

Hundreds of lives are lost each year due the tragic consequences of carbon monoxide poisoning. The danger is of greater concerns during the winter months when people use heating devices and stoves to keep warm.  This colorless, odorless gas can be deadly. In fact, accidental carbon monoxide poisoning takes more than 400 peoples’ lives each year in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another 20,000 people visit emergency departments, with more than 4,000 requiring hospitalization.

LifeFone urges everyone to learn about the potential signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Symptoms associate with Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Chest Pain

These symptoms also present in other illnesses making Carbon Monoxide Poisoning hard to recognize.

“If you get bad headaches or suffer from any of these symptoms, you may easily confuse them with the flu,” said Dr. Schneider of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “People should be concerned about the possible presence of carbon monoxide if more than one person living or working together develops these symptoms simultaneously over a short period of time.”

Ways To Help Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home
  • Never leave your automobile running in a closed garage.
  • Make sure all gas appliances are properly vented so that carbon monoxide does not build up
  • Have gas appliances installed by a professional
  • Ensure that your stove or fireplace  is vented
  • Have your fireplace, flues and chimney inspected once a year for buildup

LifeFone is a provider of Medical Alert Systems for Seniors, providing peace of mind for you and your loved ones and encourages you to not let your loved one fall prey to the invisible danger of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.

Carbon Monoxide: Danger you can’t see, taste or smell

Hundreds of lives are lost each year due the tragic consequences of carbon monoxide poisoning. The danger is of greater concerns during the winter months when people use heating devices and stoves to keep warm.  This colorless, odorless gas can be deadly. In fact, accidental carbon monoxide poisoning takes more than 400 peoples’ lives each year in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another 20,000 people visit emergency departments, with more than 4,000 requiring hospitalization.

LifeFone urges everyone to learn about the potential signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Symptoms associate with Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Chest Pain

These symptoms also present in other illnesses making Carbon Monoxide Poisoning hard to recognize.

“If you get bad headaches or suffer from any of these symptoms, you may easily confuse them with the flu,” said Dr. Schneider of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “People should be concerned about the possible presence of carbon monoxide if more than one person living or working together develops these symptoms simultaneously over a short period of time.”

Ways To Help Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home
  • Never leave your automobile running in a closed garage.
  • Make sure all gas appliances are properly vented so that carbon monoxide does not build up
  • Have gas appliances installed by a professional
  • Ensure that your stove or fireplace  is vented
  • Have your fireplace, flues and chimney inspected once a year for buildup

LifeFone is a provider of Medical Alert Systems for Seniors, providing peace of mind for you and your loved ones and encourages you to not let your loved one fall prey to the invisible danger of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.

Keeping The Elderly Safe In A Heat Wave

 

Summer will bring with it long, lazy days of sunshine and chances are heat emergencies will also arise as a result. As a general rule, the National Weather Service issues a heat advisory when the heat index meets a certain threshold. These are the days when checking on your loved one is ever more important!

Heat is as dangerous to the health of your elderly loved ones as is the cold in the winter. There are symptoms both you and your elderly loved ones should be aware of. These symptoms include:

  • A throbbing headache
  • Increased body temperature
  • Skin that is extremely hot and dry to the touch
  • Rapid pulse rate
  • Dizziness and/or nausea or vomiting

The symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion include:

  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Profuse sweating
  • Pale, cold or clammy skin
  • Weak pulse
  • A body temperature of 106 degrees or more
  • Unconsciousness

Heat stroke requires immediate medical attention. If your parents live alone and are in an area of the country where excessive heat could be an issue, equipping their home with a medical alert device can offer peace of mind for both of you should they begin feeling the effects of the heat. With the press of the medical alarm button, assistance is available.

The elderly don’t adjust well to either extreme cold or extreme heat. The medications that your aging parent may be on can also contribute to issues with heat toleration and these factors combined can put additional stress on their hearts.

There are steps you can take to “heat-proof” your aging relative’s home in the event there is a heat emergency or simply for those overly-warm summer days that will be upon us soon:

  • Advise them to eat lighter, smaller meals
  • Use a whole-house air conditioner if possible. If this isn’t possible equip at least one of the rooms with a window air conditioner so they can spend time in that one cooled room. If neither of those options are viable, the home should at least have fans running to help create a cross breeze.
  • They should avoid alcohol and caffeine and drink at least two to four cups of water every hour
  • Wear lightweight, loose fitting clothing
  • Relax and don’t exercise during the hottest parts of the day
  • If they need to go outside, make certain they carry a bottle of water with them and wear a hat and sunscreen
  • Taking a cool shower or soaking in a tepid bath will also help alleviate the stress of the heat

Make certain no matter what your parents do, that they always have their medical alert pendant on them at all times. They may be unaware they’re suffering heat stroke until the symptoms overtake them.

Emergency Senior Care Checklist

When dealing with aging parents, there are many items to take into consideration related to their health and safety. You hope you will never need to make use of an emergency checklist, but it’s a lifesaver and provides peace of mind in the event you ever do. Health emergencies are a fact of life and will arise at some point and the issues can be exacerbated by the number of medications they take, the number of doctors they see and the degree of chronic illnesses they suffer.

There are many things you can do to help alleviate some of the stress and one of those items is to equip your aging relatives’ home with a medical alert device from LifeFone. With this home medical monitoring device you can rest assured that when an emergency arises, your relatives will be cared for. When setting up a home medical alert system you will provide the carrier with information and a complete medical profile so the provider is knowledgeable about your parent’s health conditions which will then be relayed to the medical emergency responders.

The following is a list of information you should keep in a convenient location in the event of an emergency:

  • A list of all medications being taken, where they are and what they’re being taken for. Make certain this list is updated when changes are made. This is also a great list for your parents to keep with them when they go to the doctor’s office.
  • Names, phone numbers and specialties of the doctors your parents see
  • Copies of medical insurance cards, Medicare cards, prescription plans and all identification numbers
  • Social security numbers and even copies of your parent’s driver’s license
  • Legal documents including: power of attorney, health care proxy and written documents on your parent’s wishes as they relate to resuscitation orders
  • Financial information such as bank account numbers, names of financial advisors and insurance policies
  • Names and phone numbers of individuals to be contacted in the event of an emergency – along with their relationship to them
  • Contact information for clergy

Because you may be putting sensitive financial information and other information that could lead to identity theft, consider putting the paperwork in a fireproof, locking safe in an easy-to-reach location. Additionally, make a copy of all the information and give it to a trusted friend or relative to hold onto as well.  

Elder Care: Preparing For A Natural Disaster

Preparing Your Senior For A Natural Disaster

Particular areas of the country are faced with natural disasters more than others; for example coastal regions of are more likely to be struck by hurricanes than other areas of the country while others are prone to heat waves, floods, tornados or snow storms. Regardless of the threat, it’s best to make certain your aging loved one is prepared in the event of an emergency.

The best way to prepare for an emergency is to have an emergency kit ready, pay attention to news reports and have an evacuation plan in place. Seniors face a host of issues that caregivers may not have considered when a natural disaster strikes. Caregivers need to prepare by considering the following:

  • What will happen to the aging relative in the event of an evacuation?
  • Is there transportation available? How will you know where to find them when the disaster has passed?
  • Is their home safe and the pantry well stocked in the event the caregiver cannot get to them to deliver food and supplies?
  • Are there contingency plans, such as a back-up generator in place, in case your aging relative is trapped in the house and is without running water or power for any length of time?

Chances are, if your aging relative has lived in the same location for any length of time, they are aware of the need for preplanning and preparation in the event of a natural disaster. As they age though, their care needs change and this needs to be addressed.

Every home should have a disaster preparedness kit stocked with essentials to last a minimum of seven days. This kit includes:

  • One gallon of water per person per day
  • Non perishable foods and juices
  • Manual can openers
  • Battery-operated radio
  • Flashlights with working batteries
  • Toiletries
  • Other items such as additional blankets, books or other items to pass the time if there is no electricity
  • Essential medications
  • If there are pets in the household, make certain you have a supply of pet food packed as well as the animal’s medical records

Keep the items in your emergency preparedness kit in an airtight bag or container in a closet by the door. In the event of an evacuation, your aging parent will be more comfortable if they have some familiar items.

In addition to having an emergency kit available, one of the best ways to care for an aging relative in the event of an emergency is to have a network of friends, family or neighbors available who can check in on them. Contingency plans should be in place and emergency contact telephone numbers should be put in the emergency kit because it is hard to remember phone numbers in a time of crisis.

Being prepared for an emergency by listening to news and weather reports and communicating with family is one of the best ways to make certain that when disaster strikes, your aging loved one will be as safe as possible under the circumstances.

http://lifefoneblog.com/2010/12/11/do-you-have-an-emergency-plan/

Winter and Cold Weather Precautions for Seniors

Cold winter temperatures are as harmful as summer heat waves when it comes to the health of senior citizens. As a caregiver, you may worry what will happen to your parents in the event of a winter storm that knocks out electricity and when snow makes the roads impossible to drive on. If your parents or senior loved ones have
their home equipped with a Lifefone medical alarm system, once the power goes out, the battery backup kicks in and customer service is contacted. Having a home medical alarm system offers you and your loved ones peace of mind, regardless of the weather and distance between you.

Here are some items to check at your elderly loved one’s home to make certain they are taking care
of themselves once the frigid winter months kick in.

  • Make certain the thermostat is set to at least 65 degrees to help prevent hypothermia. Many seniors will feel more comfortable with the temperature a bit higher, but it shouldn’t go below 65. Common signs of hypothermia include: drowsiness, slow or slurred speech, memory loss, uncontrolled shivering and sense of exhaustion.
  • If the home is not well-insulated, you may want to consider covering the windows with inexpensive plastic sheeting to keep the wind from blowing in. Also plastic sheets will still allow sun to filter in and keep the home warm.
  • The home should be equipped with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. These should be checked monthly to make certain they’re in good working order and batteries should be changed at least twice a year and also as soon as they begin emitting a low battery warning.
  • If the senior adults have access to supplemental heating such as a generator or kerosene heater, make certain they understand exactly how to operate it and that the house must be properly ventilated at all times when it is operation.
  • Unless it is crucial, they should remain indoors when there is a storm brewing or when the temperatures hover at or below the freezing mark.
  • Ensure that your loved ones have cupboards full of food and that their medications are up to date and filled. Additionally, stock up on foods that can be eaten without having to be cooked in the event of a power outage.
  • Make certain your loved ones have access to additional blankets in an easily accessible location so they don’t have to climb to reach them when the temperatures drop.
  • Test their medical alarm system to make certain it is working properly and that they are diligent in wearing the emergency alert bracelet or pendant in the event of a slip or fall.
  • Make arrangements for a neighbor to come and check on your loved ones in the event you live too far away and can’t get to the home in the event of an emergency. Also, make arrangements to have the sidewalk shoveled and the driveway cleared so they don’t have to worry about the feeling of being  “trapped.”

 By following these precautions, using a common sense approach to leaving the house, navigating winter roads and employing the services of a home medical alarm system offers peace of mind for everyone involved.

Medical Alert System Helps in the Event of a Fall or Serious Medical Concern.

Falls can have serious consequences. About 10% to 15% of all falls in older people will result in some serious physical injury.  Fractures occur in 5% of all falls while fall-related injuries are reported to be the fifth most common cause of death in the elderly population and the most likely cause of accidental death. According toYaleUniversityMedicalSchool, the chances of surviving are six times greater if an individual who falls is found within an hour.

Facts about falls

  •  More than one third of adults 65 and older fall every year in the United States.
  • Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.
  • Over 1.8 million people 65 and older each year are treated in emergency departments for injuries from falls.
  • Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls. Continue reading

Medical Alert System Helps in the Event of a Fall or Serious Medical Concern.

Falls can have serious consequences. About 10% to 15% of all falls in older people will result in some serious physical injury.  Fractures occur in 5% of all falls while fall-related injuries are reported to be the fifth most common cause of death in the elderly population and the most likely cause of accidental death. According toYaleUniversityMedicalSchool, the chances of surviving are six times greater if an individual who falls is found within an hour.

Facts about falls

  •  More than one third of adults 65 and older fall every year in the United States.
  • Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.
  • Over 1.8 million people 65 and older each year are treated in emergency departments for injuries from falls.
  • Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls. Continue reading

Why LifeFone is Better Than a Cell Phone

When shopping for a medical alert system and researching various companies and their competition,  it is common to ask yourself: Would purchasing a cell phone be just as effective and cost efficient as purchasing a medical alert system?

The short answer is No. While cell phones provide an abundance of helpful uses i.e. when your car breaks down on the side of the road or when you need to call the police, cell phones are simply not as reliable when medical emergencies strike as medical alert systems are for three main reasons. The first important difference is we don’t always have our cell phones on us (most of the time we may not even know exactly where our cell phone is located until we hear that familiar muffled ring emerging
from deep inside the couch cushion). Secondly, cell phones run of out battery, and finally cell phones do not bring up your medical history, or preferred treatment facility instantaneously like a med alert system does.

While most people carry their cell phones with them religiously when they are running errands or visiting friends and relatives, the majority of cell phone users don’t carry their cell phones with them while they are at home. Instead, they typically place the phone on the counter and move about the house. If you or your loved one were to experience a fall and as a result were rendered immobile, how would you reach your cell phone? If you cannot get to your cell phone to call for help, it is of absolutely no use to you. However, medical alert systems are conveniently worn on the body in the form of a necklace or a wristband, so there is no need to worry if the system is within reach. When the wearer finds that he or she is harm’s way, they simply press a button and help is immediately dispatched.
There is no need to dial any numbers or provide detailed information like you would be required to do with a cell phone. Medical alert buttons provide a renewed peace of mind that a cell phone simply cannot offer.

Cell phones also have a tendency to run out of battery. When your cell phone needs to be charged it is not located on your body and you are probably away from the charging port. Medical alert pendants do not need to be recharged and are always readily available. They also have a backup battery for when the power goes out.

Additionally, when you use your cell phone to call for medical help you are the one responsible for
providing your medical history, preferred treatment facility, and contacting your loved ones. With a med alert system this is not the case. When struck with a medical emergency, people are very rarely completely alert and in tune with their surroundings. Medical alert services take the additional stress out of a hectic situation by storing all the information you need. The moment the signal from your medical alert system is received at the LifeFone Emergency Response Center, your personal profile is displayed on their computer. Each user customized profile allows the LifeFone response team to access their specific needs, including their detailed medical history, their current medications and allergies, the physicians and facility they want to be taken to and the family members and neighbors they want alerted in the event of a medical emergency.  If you are an independent senior living alone, there is simply no safer alternative to a medical alert system. The benefits you get with a medical alert system far outweigh those of a cell phone.

When danger strikes, you and your loved one want to feel at ease knowing that help is available at the touch of a button. There are no numbers to dial or medical information to remember, which make your medical emergency that much easier to cope with.  While cell phones provide immeasurable help in countless situations, there simply is no substitute for a medical alert pendant that is always charged, worn on the body, and supplied with all necessary information when needed.