Category Archives: Safety

Prescription Medication: The Do’s and Don’ts

Prescription Medication: The Do’s and Don’ts

When taking prescription medications, your senior should do the following:
Frequent a pharmacist who keeps a “drug profile” for customers and who will alert you to any prescription medication interaction problems. Also, continue comparing prices at other pharmacies as your pharmacist may match a cheaper price at another drugstore if you’re a regular customer.

Ask your doctor to write the purpose of the medication on the prescription so that the pharmacist can then type it on the label, helping to reduce the chance of accidental mix-ups. Most pharmacists will also write the expiration date of the prescription medication if asked to.

Ask the pharmacist for easy open caps, large print labels, and sometimes oversize bottles may be necessary. Check your prescription medications before leaving the pharmacy. Make sure that the correct patient’s name is on the bottle and the directions are consistent with what the doctor told you. Ask the pharmacist if your pill box or pill organizer will affect the stability of the prescription medication. You should also talk with your doctor and pharmacist about whether crushing pills or putting them in liquid or applesauce affects the medication, making them less effective.

Always read the medicine container before each dose. Always take all medications as prescribed. A recent report found that nearly 25% of all admissions to nursing homes were due to elders not following the prescribed medication therapeutic regimen.

Things your loved ones should not do when taking prescription medications: Never put drugs in different bottles then what they were originally prescribed in. When medications are in different bottles, it’s hard to remember what they are for or how they should be taken. Also, the original bottles are tinted or opaque to keep out damaging sunlight.

Split medications in advance. When the doctor has approved taking half a pill, ask the pharmacist whether splitting medications in advance will have an effect on the drug. (Most large pharmacies sell tablet cutters for splitting pills). Chew or break pills unless directed. You should never take anyone else’s prescription medication. Never drive when there’s a warning on the medications saying that it may cause drowsiness or fatigue. Never modify the dosage without consulting your physician.

Never discontinue medications even if you feel better. This is especially true for antibiotics. Quitting before the pills are taken completely may cause an increase in antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. Also, abrupt discontinuation of medications may cause unpleasant and possibly dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Your physician always needs be notified when medications are discontinued before the prescribed time.

Do not accumulate old prescription medications. Unused medicines make the proper management of medications more difficult. The best way to dispose of prescription medications is by flushing them down the toilet, which will ensure that children, pets or others will not find them in the trash and be harmed by them in any way.
These recommendations should help to make yourself or family member safer and healthier.

Some information from Eldercare for Dummies by Rachelle Zukerman

Additional information and webpage by Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)

Top Ten Considerations for Making Your Home Accessible

Whether you currently live with a disability or are planning for when you or someone close to you may, building accessibility into your home can prove vital for aging in place, caring for a family member or increasing the “visit ability” of your home. Listed below are the top issues one should consider before undertaking any improvements, according to Disaboom (, the largest online community for people living with or touched by disability.

Mobility Issues. Be aware of your own needs as a person with a disability and what works best for you. It’s a good idea to make a list of issues you encounter regularly and then think of modifications that would resolve each of these issues. Different degrees of disability will require customized adaptations to achieve greatest ease of use. Always remember, this is your house. Modifications should be designed off your own specifications regardless of what the accessible home standards recommend.

Budget. Modifying a home does not have to be extremely expensive but can prove to be. Be realistic about your budget and if you decide to go through a contractor, insist that they provide a firm bid identifying the total cost of the project and how long it will take to complete. Financial help is out there. Disability Vocational Rehabilitation, Veterans Affairs, church groups, neighbors and even television shows such as “Extreme Home Makeover” are a few good resources that can help shoulder the financial burden. To better understand the costs associated with making your home accessible, visit RE/MAX’s “Assess Your Access” calculator on, which provides estimation based on your house’s criteria.

Location. While locale is a personal preference, a few variables to keep in mind include: walking distance to amenities such as groceries, dining, pharmacies and public transportation stops; the safety of the neighborhood; and your desired level of community support.

It’s important to keep all of these guidelines in mind as well, as you design specific areas of your home, such as the ones listed below.

Garden. The first step in developing an accessible garden is to make sure you can navigate around and through your garden. This includes having wide enough pathways, being able to reach the planters for planting, watering and weeding. Hanging planters, raised beds, and rail systems are practical solutions. Research and utilize the many specialized lightweight, easy to grip and spring-loaded gardening tools available to make gardening much easier.

Entrance. The first key feature to an entrance is a direct access ramp. The ideal location to install this is in your garage, to protect it from the elements, which reduces maintenance and other associated risk factors. If the garage is not an option, be aware of water drainage so that the ramp does not become a hazard. Motion sensor lighting can be extremely helpful for illuminating the ramp and landing area. Make sure that you install an ample doorway and that all passageways and hallways are at least forty-two inches wide.

Kitchen. When designing an accessible kitchen, make sure that you have enough floor space and are able to maneuver easily. This is especially important in front of appliances. Position the kitchen sink and faucet handles in an accessible location to accommodate users of varying heights. Positioning cabinets and countertops at a lower height will provide an accessible prep area for cooking. When space is limited, pull-down cabinets can also be an accessible solution. If you have grip limitations, look at hardware that incorporates levers or loop handles that can be easily operated with a closed fist. This applies to door hardware, cabinet hardware, sink, and stove controls.

Bathroom. Creating a safe, accessible bathroom is very important. Simple adjustments such as grip bars and railings can prevent serious injury from occurring. Allocate enough space for a wheelchair to pull in and back out and even consider installing a walk in/roll in shower. Bathroom sinks should also accommodate users of varying heights.

Office. Setting up a home office may be the simplest way to get back into a regular work routine. Some options to consider when designing your accessible office include: wheelchair accessible desk, foot activated mouse, adjustable furniture and speaking devices that record and respond to voice commands. Incorporating such products will not only serve to further enhance productivity, but can also enhance comfort as well.

Accessing Multiple Floors. Home owners with a new disability in a multi-level home looking to access their second floor have a few options; residential elevators, vertical wheelchair lifts, or a stair lift. Wheelchair lifts and stair lifts are less costly, do not require a machine room, and are more space efficient. Wheelchair users should note that if they decide to install a stair lift, two separate wheelchairs are required unless they wish to carry their wheelchair with them.

Other Elements. Attention to detail can make all the difference. Raising electrical outlets, lowering switches, and ridding your home of doorway thresholds (as they present a trip hazard) are some small details that help immensely. Specialized appliances such as front loading washers and dryers and the self running Roomba Vacuum can also make life that much easier.

Whether you currently have a disability, desire to increase the “visit ability “ of your home, or are planning for the future, having an accessible home is a key component to living forward. To discover more information on how to make your home accessible, estimate the costs associated with increasing your home’s accessibility, or share ideas with others in the community, visit Remember, “A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.”

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Author: Kim Donahue

Independent Aging and Home Safety

By Michael H Price and Hulet Smith

Independent aging and home safety go hand-in-hand. For many seniors, it is extremely important to family and friends to prove that safety measures are in place. They will constantly be on edge that mom, dad, grandpa, or grandma might fall and lay in pain for hours or days before help arrives.

Of course, their worries are justified. One in two people over the age of 65 will fall and break a hip. With age, it becomes harder to assume that pain and injury happens to the other person.

In addition, it is nice to know that if any emergency arises, help will be on the way in a matter of minutes. For instance, a lot of seniors are able to stay home because they wear some sort of alert device. Then, family members can quit nagging, lovingly of course, because the phone does not have to be within reach to get help.

Home Safety Ideas

Implementing additional home safety ideas will go a long way in convincing others that seniors are still capable of living alone at home. As long as they can prove they have home safety aids in place, to help prevent a fall or some other injury, it will be a lot easier to remain independent at home.
To make sure their home is as safe as they can possibly make it, begin by going through each room in the house to determine which changes are necessary to make life easier and safer. For example, if getting up and down from a sitting position has become a precarious adventure, a lift chair or lift cushion may be the answer to that problem.

You will want to make the bathroom a priority in home safety. To avoid slipping or falling in the shower or tub, hand grips on the wall will help steady their balance. They may also want to consider a raised toilet seat, so getting up and down from the commode is simpler. A shower chair is also an excellent idea for those who may have difficulty standing for any length of time.

The bedroom can also be unsafe, especially if they have to get up in the middle of the night. If they are tired and half asleep, their balance is likely to be even more unsteady. A bed rail might come in handy for standing up or even switching positions in the night.

Alleviate your Own Fears

Independent aging and living at home for as long as possible is usually preferable to residing in a nursing home, where they are away from what is familiar and less like living in a hospital-like environment. But, they may have some natural fears to being home alone, in case something happens.
With home safety devices implemented and the necessary equipment to make life a little easier and more comfortable, they may be able to continue to enjoy their home and independence. Knowing you have done everything possible to make their house safer, and knowing that help is just an alert away, will give you the confidence to reassure friends, family, and the individual.

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