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How to Stay Safe When Your In-Home Caregiver is Away

By Jan Bolder - May 19, 2014

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Having an in-home caregiver is one of the best ways seniors can age in place and keep safe there for longer, but an in-home caregiver still isn't an all-encompassing solution. They have their own lives and errands to attend to, and can't physically be there at every second of the day for the senior. And even if they could, it would strip a great deal of the dignity and independence away from the senior, negating the reason for having an in-home caregiver there in the first place. Caregivers need time off to recharge their batteries so they can come back and keep doing an awesome job, but that gap in presence means seniors can be potentially unsafe. Here's how to combat that and always keep safe in the home.

 

Use a Medication Dispenser

All a senior — or caregiver — has to do is load the medications into the dispenser, input the schedule, wait for the alert, and then press a button. The medication dispenser will then automatically pop out whatever the senior needs to take at that time, and is connected to the senior's phone so that family members can be contacted if the senior forgets to take their meds. Some dispensers also run on backup batteries, so if there's ever a power outage, they still don't have to worry about staying on top of their meds.

Apps for Taking Medications

If seniors don't want to invest in a medication dispenser or are more technologically-minded, they can download any one of the numerous apps for their smartphone or tablet. Some of the ones seniors should look into downloading include:

 

  • Rxmind Me Prescription: This one's free in the App Store, and lets seniors enter in dosage information, the kind of reminders and alarms they like best, and start up a track sheet to keep tabs on everything.
  • MediSafe Meds & Pill Reminder: For seniors who have Android devices, this app is for them and operates much the same way.
  • MedCoach Medication Reminder: This one doesn't have all the bells and whistles on it visually, but it's not an app to be admired. It gives off alerts and reminds you when you need to refill meds, which is the main purpose of a medication reminder app.
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    Install an Emergency Button

    Slips, trips and falls are one of the unfortunate things that tend to happen to seniors, but it's not always the immediate impact that's the difference-maker in being able to age in place and stay safe in your home. Rather, it's the ability to rebound from it and keep moving on that really matters. If a senior is by themselves in their home and happens to take a tumble, it's crucial that they have fast access to responders if they need it and having an emergency button is one of the easiest ways of accomplishing this.

    Re-Outfit the Home with Handrails and No-Slip Mats

    Putting in guardrails on staircases, in bathrooms, around the kitchen and anywhere else in the house that needs it, may not be the most aesthetically pleasing choice, but there'll hardly be anything left to admire in the home if the senior gets injured and has to go to a hospital. It doesn't take a lot of work to install handrails and the effects are enormous: now, the senior can have the freedom to go from room to room without worrying about any pitfalls. Putting in no-slip mats are even easier because it requires zero handiwork and works to the same purpose.

    Outfitting a senior's home so they can be safe while their in-home caregiver is away doesn't take a lot, but there are some necessary steps that should be taken. Once done, you can relax, knowing your loved one will be fine at all hours of the day.