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Fire Safety for Seniors with Special Health Needs

Senior Care in Turnersville, NJ

Senior-Care-in-Turnersville-NJFor most of us, we heavily rely on our smoke alarm system to alert us in case of fire. We can hear, see, and smell, depending on multiple senses to detect fire. However, our elderly parents do not share this advantage more so for elderly parents with special health needs. There are several things you can do, to safely guide your parent in case of an emergency. Depending on their need, consider the following:

Mobility impairments

• If your elderly parent has to support themselves with a walker or a wheelchair, you can’t depend on traditional fire escape routes. Due to their decreased mobility, make escape routes more accessible.
• Keep a phone next to their bed with emergency numbers on speed dial. This will help them if they can’t move.
• Get a small fire extinguisher designed for personal use for your loved who is confined to a wheelchair. Choose one that can be mounted on the wheelchair for easy access.
• Install exit ramps that will serve as emergency exits

Blind/visually impaired

• Help your loved one to practice escape from all rooms in the house. When done over time your loved will be able to commit these repeated actions to memory. In case of a fire, they will instinctively use the learned escape routes to get to safety.
• Apart from using the sense of smell, your loved one can also use touch to detect fire. If a doorknob feels hot, don’t open it. To confirm fire, feel the space between door and frame,if it’s hot, don’t open it. As a general precaution, if anything feels hot, use the second escape route.
• Place tactile markers along all exit routes in the house. This makes it easier for your loved one if they have to crawl to safety.

Hearing impairment 

• Make use of assistive devices such as vibrating beds or pillows that are activated by the sound of a regular smoke alarm.
• Install smoke alarms with an outside strobe light. Inform neighbors what the strobe light means so that in the event of a fire they can recognize it immediately and act.

Alzheimer’s or dementia

Your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s will often understand when something is wrong. During an emergency, explain it to them while remaining calm and provide clear instructions of what will happen next.
• Your loved one will understand visual illustrations better. Make use of a picture book that illustrates appropriate response during an emergency such as fire.
•  Practice using escape routes,understand that your loved one’s memory will worsen and improve at different times. When you practice escape routes repeatedly, instinct will guide them through to safety.

When it comes to fire safety in senior care, the key is learning and fireproofing before any need arises. Practicing escape routes will save your loved one precious time during an emergency. Regardless of their disability, ensure that the house has a functional smoke detector and sprinkler system. Do not take any chances, test them every month to ensure they are functional.

Always think of all the possible scenarios in elder care , at times escape may not always be a viable option. Consult an in-home care professional to assist you with training and practice. Fire-proof a particular room in the house where they can seek refuge. Equip the room with fire protection devices such as fire-resistant blankets. Inform them of this and let them know all the escape routes available.

For all of your senior care needs in Turnersville, NJ and the surrounding areas call and talk to us at Home to Stay Healthcare Solutions (856) 321-1500.

 

Andrew Dubler

Home to Stay Health Care Solutions (H2S) is a solutions minded, non-medical home care company enabling seniors and disabled members of our community to stay at home.
Home to Stay Senior Care Solutions is owned and operated by the Dubler and Skole Families and was started because of experiences they had with their own Families. In one situation Mom was living alone and had a fall. It was not until this fall that the family realized they were unprepared.

When it was time for their Mom to come home, she needed companion and personal care to assist her and prevent another accident. Like most people in this situation, they were confused and did not know where to go for help. It was this life-changing experience that lead to starting a home care company that is focused on enabling those who wish to stay at home and age in place.
Andrew Dubler