Health Chats
Keeping Seniors Safe and Independent
Tuesday Mar 23, 2010, 05:00PM - 06:00PM (EST)
Bridget A. Hewitt, RNBlankBlank
If you are elderly or disabled, have health concerns, or live alone, how do you maintain your independence and live in your own home safely? If you have a loved one who falls into this category, how do you make sure that they are safe and receive help in an emergency if you're not there 24/7? In this hour-long health chat, learn how to make your home safer and get medical care when you need it if you live alone. Take steps now to ensure that you are prepared in case of a medical emergency. Get tips on how to set up an environment that addresses your health needs. For children of elderly parents, learn how to recognize the signs that indicate that your parents may need help. Determine if living alone at home is the correct choice for your parents and what to consider when discussing alternatives. Get tips on how to deal with parents who aren't ready to leave their home.
MedHelp:
Hello everyone. This health chat will begin at 5 pm Eastern / 2 pm Pacific, but feel free to start submitting your questions now.  
MedHelp:
Welcome to the Keeping Seniors Safe and Independent Health Chat, sponsored by ADT.
MedHelp:
Thank you to all members and to Bridget Hewitt, RN for joining us here today!
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
Hi Everyone,  Glad to be here.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
Let's get started right away!
sunshinemom123:
My father is 83 years old and is really stubborn and would like to stay living at home as long as possible.  I really worry about him since I do not live in the same state and would feel more comfortable with him at some type of retirement home where he can be monitored.  I would like to compromise with him so I have been reading a lot about technology enabling seniors to live independently at home.  There are so many products, how do you know which is the best?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you!
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
This is a great question.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
IT is really difficult to have to be a "parent" to your parent, and you want to provide them with as much independence as  you can.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
You hit the nail on the head so to speak in regards to trying to work out a compromise.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
I think a good way to approach this is to discuss with your dad a device such as the ADP Companion Service.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
This is a personal emergency response system that can allow people who are elderly or disabled the opportunity to stay at home and live independently while still having access to to emergency help at their fingertips.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
I am going tomake a correction, because the service is actually ADT (not adp- i made a typo).
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
This type of service is key because it allows the users quick and easy access to emergency personel.  
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
It involves your dad wearing a necklace or wrist band and if he needs assitance, he presses the button and it connects him to a speaker that allows him to speak to a professional with ADT who can get assistance for him.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
I have an aunt who is disabled and uses this system and it has allowed her to live independently.
zanfry:
Hi- my mom is 89 and lives alone- we moved her bedroom to the first floor and we put safety handles in her bathroom and a new new railing by the front door. We also put emergency phone numbers next to the phone (a rotary phone btw). What else can we do to make the house safer for an elderly person?
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
Another good question.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
You have gotten off to a great start and these are great things to do.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
Most falls that happen, occur between the bedroom and the bathroom.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
So another good thing to do would be to install night lights so that if your mom has to get up during the night, she can easily find her way.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
It is a good idea to place these in both her bedroom and in the bathroom and in the hallway in between if there is one.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
Another thing would be to secure any loose carpeting and I would pick up any throw rugs that may be down on the floor.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
Those little rugs look pretty, but they are a definite fall hazard!
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
Generally, clean up any clutter, boxes on floor and books/ magazines- these collect quickly and can be a hazzard.
cboat:
I'm in my late 50's and my mom is in an assisted living place with lots of family support. My wife and I plan to move to rural Michigan to help with my mom-in-law who's in good shape for 85, considering. Her support system isn't very good so we hope to help there. We won't be living with her, but nearby - she's savvy with email and tech. What suggestions do you have that will keep us connected without being underfoot when she's working (she's an author and still writes everyday).
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
How great that you are able to make that move and help support your mother in law.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
Since your mom in law is so tech savy you could try a web cam.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
You could keep in touch with her that way and not be underfoot.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
Also, you may want to try getting her some kind of hand device (like a blackberry or an i-pod).  These are portable and she can stay in touch with you via IM or even Twitter.
glendajohnson:
My mother is 82 years of age and has a stomach aneurysm which is 6.5. Surgery is not an option. What is the largest an aneurysm can get before bursting?
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
These aneurysms can get big, but as long as they are stable then people can live with them.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
Usually careful blood pressure monitoring is important here, so make sure that your mom has a good primary care doctor that she is able to get to and that she has a good relationship with.