Health Chats
Keeping Seniors Safe and Independent
Tuesday Apr 20, 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, Happy to be here
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
Looking forward to chatting with everyone
jdwithhcv:
THe ADT Personal Emergency Response requires the user to activate the system to summon help.  This if fine if the user is conscious during the emergency, however how can they summon help if they are not conscious or are otherwise unable to push a button to summon help?
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
The button used to activate the ADT personal response system is on a necklace or on a wristlet.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
A person does need to be conscious to press the button
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
So hopefully if the person realizes that they are having a problem, they can press the button before they lose consciousness
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
Also, someone else can also press the button if they find the person unconscious.
larkep:
My 79 year old Mother, recently diagnosed with early stage Alzheimers has had trouble in the past week remembering how to do simple things like adjusting the thermostat or answering the phone. She lives with me and I work about 4 hours a day. I am worried about how to keep her safe when I am out of the home. She has osteoporosis and spinal stenosis and is unsteady on her feet. I am a retired RN but this has got me really concerned. I am her sole caretaker and we have no family here that I could ask for help. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
As far as the thermostat is concerned, you can try using a programmable thermostat and set it yourself.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
Also, a neat feature of the ADT system we just discussed is that it can monitor the temperature inside the home
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
If the temp gets too hot or too cold then the system will give a warning and the ADT personell will call to check on the individual
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
Try and make sure that you home is free of fall hazards such as loose rugs and clutter on the floor to prevent any falls.
ezsf:
My mother is 75 and very forgetful.  She has a list of medications that need to be taken at a specific time every day.  As you can imagine, she forgets to take them or takes the wrong one at the wrong time.  Do you have any suggestions on how to solve this problem?
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
One of the best ways to handle this is setting up a weekly pill box for your mom.  YOu can dose out the medication ahead of time and she only needs to take what is in the pill box each day.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
This way, she does not have to go through all the bottles and take out the pills herself
Kat_624:
I am currently researching different agencies to provide support for my mother in her home.  Most agencies offer personal aides or CNAs.  What is the difference?  What level of medical training does a CNA have over a personal aide?
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
Certified nurses aides can assist with all activites of daily living and go through a training course with the agency
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
They usually have to go through a certification process.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
Personal aides are not usually certified but provide assistance with shopping, cleaning, and cooking.  
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
IF your mom needs help with showering, transferring, and such, a certified nurses aid would be the way to go.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
If she needs help with just cooking, cleaning, etc. a personal aide does a great job.
melissw:
My mom and I trade off watching my grandfather who has Alzheimer's disease.  Occasionally he is left alone and tends to wander.  We cannot afford to pay someone to watch him when we are unavailable.  Is there technology that will monitor him when we are not available to take care of him?  Thank you,
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
This is tough because patients with Alzheimers do wander
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
There are senior day care facilities that might be available in your area that can help keep an eye on your grandfather
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
There are cellular phones that have the ability to track peoples whereabouts, however it is not an alert system per se and I don't know much about them.
Maineland:
My mother is 79 and lives in a condo on her own. She does not want to discuss different living arrangements and I am nervous that something may happen to her. What signs should I look for that may mean its time to get her some assistance?
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
If you notice that your mom is starting to be forgetful, missing medications, missing appointments it might mean she needs some assistance.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
This can mean you need to check in on her more often or call her more frequently.
Bridget A Hewitt, RN:
Also, systems such as the ADT's Personal Response System can be helpful in this situation because you know your mom will have access to help if she needs it in an emergency