As your parents age, there is an increased risk that they will suffer an injury from a fall in the home. That risk increases if your parent has been hospitalized and is now being discharged to continue recovery at home; a fall can lead to a continued decline in their health. When you consider that one-third of all falls take place in the home, usually as a result of clutter, pets or an aging adult being unable to reach object, it is important to implement safety measures. Health issues increase if mobility is restricted and can lead to depression or pneumonia among others.
While there may be no failsafe way to prevent all in-home falls, having a home medical alert system can offer your aging parents a way to have immediate access to medical assistance in the event of a fall.
When dealing with an aging loved one that has been hospitalized and is on the verge of discharge, here are a few items to take into consideration when bringing them back home:
- Get involved in the discharge process. Talk with the caregivers your parent has been involved with during the hospital stay. Request detailed information on how to care for the injury or illness once your parent is released and ask what signs to look for that should be cause for concern, ie. fever, swelling, etc.
- Equip the home with a medical alert device prior to the release from the hospital. With this device, your relative will be provided a medical alert pendant and at the push of a button, will have immediate access to emergency care as needed.
- “Adult-proof” the home. Make space for any medical equipment your relative might need once he or she is discharged. Look for trip and fall obstacles in walkways, move items to lower shelves or countertops so your relative isn’t forced to reach too far or might have to climb on a chair or stepstool to reach an item. Look around the bathroom to make certain there are non slip rugs and items in the bathtub to keep them safe from falls.
With careful planning, you may be able to help your aging parent remain safely in the family home. If, however, there comes a time when they need to move into an assisted living facility, keep in mind that their medical alert device can move along with them.