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9 Products to Make Your Bathroom Safer for Seniors

9 Products to Make Your Bathroom Safer

The bathroom can be one of the most dangerous rooms in a house for seniors. Slippery floors, getting in and out of showers, and getting on and off the toilet can be opportunities for injuries. Some products can help make your bathroom safer.

9 Products to Make Your Bathroom Safer

9 Products to Make Your Bathroom Safer

 

These products range from products for your shower to your toilet to your bathroom floor.

1. Toilet Night Light

It may seem silly, but this could prevent trips during the night. Having a light inside your toilet can keep you from tripping without having to shock yourself awake with bright lights. It has a built-in motion sensor that detects body heat and will light up the room.

There is a bit of fun with this product because it comes in 16 different colors. It also has five different brightness levels.

It has a 4.2-star rating on Amazon.

2. Elevated Toilet Seat with Arms

This seat will help make getting up and down easier due to not only being higher but coming with arms as well. It’s easy to clean and put together. If the arms aren’t needed, they are removable. It has a weight limit of 300 pounds.

It has a 3.9-star rating on Amazon.

3. Toilet Rail Grab Bar Safety Frame

Here is another way to make getting up and down easier. This product is different because it’s more than just arms. It’s an entire frame that surrounds the toilet, similar in style to a walker. It even has a basket for magazines or books on the side.

It’s made of steel to make it sturdy and durable, and it has slip resistant pads so that it doesn’t move when someone uses it. It has comfortable grips for users.

It has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon.

4. Bath Step with Handle

Getting in and out of the tub/shower can be a potential hazard. This step makes it a little easier. By raising the body, it makes the step to get over a tub smaller and gives you more control. It has a non-slip grip platform floor and a locked in safety handrail for added support and balance.

It has a 4.2-star rating on Amazon.

5. Non-Slip Bath Mat

Getting out of the shower can be just as dangerous as getting in. Getting a non-slip bath mat is a way to stay safe. This mat, in particular, features memory foam for extra comfort. It’s machine washable which makes it easy upkeep. It comes with eight different color options. The bottom of the mat is lined with long-lasting PVC dots to stop it from moving.

It has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon.

6. Grab Bars

Grab bars will be your best friend and don’t need much of an explanation. You can put them on any wall, and it will be support for balance. This particular grab bar can handle up to 500 pounds once secured.

This bar has a 4.8-star rating on Amazon.

7. Bath Seat

Some people may not be able to stand long enough to take a shower due to balance issues or muscle weakness. Using a shower seat will help prevent slips.

This seat is lightweight but durable. It has a padded seat, and the back is detachable for easy cleaning. The chair has non-slip material for safety as do the legs for extra security. It also has drainage holes for water to escape. It has handles for helping people get up and down.

It has a 4.4-star rating on Amazon.

8. Shower Bench

Have everything you need right at your fingertips with a shower bench. Have your washcloth, soap, and any other essential needs all in one spot.

This bench weighs less than 5 pounds and can hold up to 300 pounds. It has rubber stops to keep it from moving or scratching your tub. It’s easy to attach to your tub. Relax and have everything you need while you shower.

It has a 3.9-star rating on Amazon.

9. Anti-Slip Mat

This is essential to make your bathroom safer. Having a mat to cover your floor will keep you from falling because the tub floor is slippery.

This mat, in particular, comes in 16 different colors. It has suction cups to keep it stuck to the tub floor. It’s antibacterial, mildew resistant, BPA free, non-toxic, phthalate free, latex free and has no smell. It’s even machine washable.

It has a 4.3-star rating on Amazon.

10 Ways to Protect You and Your Loved Ones From Scams

Government is Taking on Robocalls

We’ve talked a lot about scams targeting seniors, but not much on how to protect them. Sadly, seniors are prime targets for con artists. This is because they are easy to confuse and aren’t as connected to the world as younger adults. What you might think is an obvious scam, a senior could take seriously. Here are 10 ways to protect you and your loved ones from scams.

10 Ways to Protect You and Your Loved Ones From Scams

10 Ways to Protect You and Your Loved Ones From Scams

 

1. Be Wary of “Emergency” Calls

One of the biggest scams involves a senior’s loved one being in an emergency. This is to pressure the senior and cause them panic. Attempt to get a phone number to call back and check the whereabouts and safety of your loved one who’s in danger. It’s a scam if they refuse to give you either.

2. Protect Your Identity

Never, never, give out your Social Security number, Medicare, and financial account info over the phone.

3. Don’t Answer the Phone

If you don’t know the phone number, don’t answer it.

4. Don’t Confirm Personal Information

Try not to say yes to any question asked of you when asked about personal info. The calls may be recorded, and your “yes” can be used to buy purchases you don’t want.

5. Don’t Press Any Numbers

Don’t do it even to stop calls. It can increase the number of robocalls you get. It shows scammers that they found an active number.

6. Change Your Voicemail

Change the message so that it doesn’t reveal your name or other personal info. If you want a legitimate caller to know they called you, you can leave your number in the message.

7. Don’t Return Calls that Claim to Be From the Authorities

Places like the IRS, Social Security Administration, bank, or local police or sheriff’s department usually don’t just leave a voicemail. If you think the call is legitimate, don’t call the number left on the voicemail, instead, look up the number to see if it matches.

8. Do Not Call Registry

You can register both your landline and cellphone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry.

9. Report Robocalls

You can report unwanted calls with the FTC by phone at (888) 382-1222 or (877) 382-4357 or online.

10. Use FCC Tips

The FCC has tips on how to stop unwanted calls.

Read more here.

Scammers are Coming After Seniors in NH

Scammers are Coming After Seniors in NH

We talked about scams before, but that was when they were spread all over the country, now scammers are coming after seniors in NH. Seniors are the perfect target for scammers, especially if they have any cognitive decline. It’s easy for scammers to confuse seniors and play on their fears.

Scammers are Coming After Seniors in NH

Scammers are Coming After Seniors in NH

 

The “grandparent scam,” which we’ve talked about before in our article about different types of scams, have been making the rounds in NH. As a refresher, the grandparent scam is when someone tries to trick a senior into believing someone they loved is in jail or kidnapped and needs money. The money can come as a wire transfer or even gift cards.

To make it seem real, con artists use technology that is recordings of their grandchild’s voice.

In a different version of the scam, the scammers themselves pretend to be a senior’s loved ones. They will claim that their voice changed because they broke their nose.

In New Hampshire, the top scams are unsolicited phone calls and debt collection scams.

To learn more about senior scams check out our articles:

Read more about the NH scams here.

Can Smart Cars Keep Seniors on the Road Longer?

Can Smart Cars Keep Seniors on the Road Longer?

Having the car conversation with your senior is hard. It’s an incredible loss of independence for them. There is no right or wrong way to have this conversation. But, the development of smart cars could keep seniors on the road longer and let you push the conversation further into the future.

Can Smart Cars Keep Seniors on the Road Longer?

Can Smart Cars Keep Seniors on the Road Longer?

 

Since the Silver Tsunami is coming, a large group of drivers is going to struggle to stay on the road. The auto industry needs to prepare for these drivers. They can do this by creating features that can work with disabilities or limitations that come with getting older.

For example, someone with arthritis can be helped by power seats that can move to the steering wheel and far away enough to get in the car easily. Other features that can help are power windows and mirrors, a thicker steering wheel that’s easier to grip, keyless entry, an automatic tailgate closer, and a push button to start and stop the engine.

Having a large display that’s high contrast with letters and numbers help those that are visually impaired. An auto-dimming rearview mirror and glare-reducing side mirrors can enhance driver safety.

A backup camera is an equally wonderful and dangerous feature. It’s great for those who can’t turn their heads well or shorter people. The problem is when people depend on it too much. It can’t cover blind spots, so people still need to look around.

AAA created a useful list of smart features that will be helpful for people with certain limitations.

Read more about smart cars here.

Massachusetts has the Biggest Senior Prison Population

Massachusetts has the Biggest Senior Prison Population

While NH may have the second highest senior population, Massachusetts has the largest senior prison population. It’s growing more everyday too. The question is why are there so many seniors in prison and how to do we properly take care of them?

Massachusetts has the Biggest Senior Prison Population

Massachusetts has the Biggest Senior Prison Population

 

According to the state Department of Correction (DOC), as of Jan. 1, 2018, there were 909 men aged 60 and older in prison. The average age of someone in prison in the state is 42-years-old.

The oldest inmate is 95!

Problems with senior abuse in state prisons has highlighted the problems that the system faces when it comes to senior prisoners. Prisoners aged 60 and over make up around 11% of the whole population of 8,852.

Senior Prison Population Rising

 

An interesting statistic about Massachusetts’ prison population is that the overall population is decreasing. Though, the elderly prison population has been steadily rising.

From 1999 to 2016, seniors in state and federal prisons increased 280%.

Pew Researchers believe that the growth of seniors in prison is due to the nature of the crimes they committed and how long they were sentenced for. Many older inmates were convicted of serious or violent crimes in their younger years.

Between 1993 and 2013, two-thirds of people 55 or older were sentenced for a violent crime like assault, rape, or murder.

Read more here.

Evacuating Seniors During Emergencies Takes Practice

Evacuating Seniors During Emergencies Takes Practice

New Hampshire isn’t new to extreme weather, but there’s been a lot of  natural disasters happening around the country as of late. While watching the news and feeling bad for the locals, people may forget about the seniors that live there. Seniors are especially vulnerable to disasters and evacuating seniors during emergencies takes a lot of practice and planning.

Evacuating Seniors During Emergencies Takes Practice

Evacuating Seniors During Emergencies Takes Practice

 

Charleston’s Bishop Gadsden Retirement Community in South Carolina has worked to make evacuations feel normal for the residents. They plan 24/7 for emergencies. They need to be ready to move once hurricane season kicks in.

When Hurricane Florence came, it was go time for all the communities of Charleston. For Bishop Gadsden, they were ready. Ambulances arrived at 2 A.M. to take 14 seniors too frail to make the journey sitting. The remaining residents boarded buses for a mountaintop inn. A U-Haul followed behind with walkers and a different bus had all their pets.

Why Evacuating is Such High Stakes

 

Moving a bunch of seniors is full of high stakes. Any small setback, like not enough oxygen tanks or lost medication, can have dire consequences. Even when it’s done perfectly, problems can arise.

This is because residents are used to a routine and can get really shaken up by any change. They can get anxious and may need more oxygen tanks than usual. There can be upset stomachs too.

Just because one evacuation goes well, that doesn’t mean community leaders can rest. Instead, they immediately get to work on how to make the journey easier next time.

Are You Evacuation Ready?

 

As mentioned before, extreme weather happens often in New Hampshire, are you prepared? If your senior is in a community, do you know if they have evacuation plans? Do they have plans in case they get snowed in?

If your senior lives at home, have you created a plan for them? Do you have extra supplies in case of a snow in? Do you have an emergency plan in case they lose power and heat? Seniors are especially sensitive to cold.

Before the winter season really kicks in, make sure to have a game plan ready for your senior. These communities have spent years perfecting this craft.

You may only have a few weeks.

Read more here.

The Rising Cost of Keeping Seniors in Jail

South Korea is Dealing With an Elderly Crime Wave

At least 1/3 of the US prison population will be over 50 by 2030 according to the Osborne Association. The association is a New York based advocacy group that works for justice involving people and their families. They cited figures showing that even as states are working to reduce prison populations, the number of seniors in jail are growing.

The Rising Cost of Keeping Seniors in Jail

Seniors in Jail

 

The number of older adults in jail is projected to grow 4,400 percent in the 50 year period between 1980 and 2030. It’s estimated that  400,000 seniors will be incarcerated.

According to statistics quoted by the researchers, adults over 50 make up just 3% of the total incarcerated population in 1993. That’s around 26,300 people.

Osborne Association Report

 

The association advocates for improved conditions in prisons and jails, better discharge planning, and expanded compassionate release of the elderly and infirm.

“Justice isn’t served by keeping elderly people locked up as their bodies and minds fail them and they grow infirm and die,” says Elizabeth Gaynes, who is president and CEO of the of the association.

The report is titled “The High Cost of Low Risk: The Crisis of America’s Aging Prison Population.” According to the report, there are 2 reasons why there is an increase in prison populations. The first is extreme sentences doled out during the tough on crime era. The second is the limited mechanisms for compassionate release. These reasons have driven what is now a costly and inhumane crisis that the system can’t handle.

The medical cost of caring for the growing senior population behind bars is also growing. This will add strains on the already resource limited corrections systems.

According to the data analyzed by the American Civil Liberties Union, it costs twice as much to incarcerate someone over 50. In some cases, it could cost up to 5 times more when medical costs are added.

Around half of the older prison population have some sort of mental illness or cognitive impairment. Some prisons are creating makeshift hospice wings and opening nursing wards for people with serious cognitive degeneration.

What’s even harder for inmates with cognitive decline may not remember why they are incarcerated. They may not even be able to follow the rules. This could be seen as disobedience and then they get punished. They could even be sent to solitary confinement.

Decareration

 

Research by the Pew Center on the States show that incarcerated people over 50 pose little public safety risk. They also have the lowest repeating offense rate than any other inmate demographic.

The association wants the system to look at the idea of justice differently. They want to try incarcerating less and even releasing some of the older inmates. Many of the older prisoners were arrested in their teens.

There is bipartisan support for decarceration for nonviolent offenders. The need for a new approach is underlined by the cost of housing elderly inmates. It’s now estimated to cost $16 billion a year.

The Osborne Association is trying to work out some policy idea that will work for everyone.

Read more here.

8 Things to Check After a Senior Falls

Geriatricians Vs Primary Doctors

Falling is a common problem among seniors. It’s notorious for sending them to the hospital. We shouldn’t ignore this fact and start taking control. Here are 8 things to check after a senior falls.

8 Things to Check After a Senior Falls

Why Do Falls Happen?

 

Falls can happen due to a number of factors. One, is that it could be a sign of a new medical problem that needs to be addressed. Examples are dehydration or urinary tract infection.

Older who have fallen before, have increased risk to do so again. You should be proactive about finding fall risk factors.

Doctors may not pay attention enough to a senior, unless you speak up and ask questions. It’s been shown that seniors don’t get the recommended care that they deserve. You can make sure they are not overlooked.

8 Things to Check After a Senior Falls

 

1. Signs of a New Illness

As mentioned before, seniors can be overlooked or symptoms can brushed off as general weakness or delirium. Make sure to bring up any changes that you’ve noticed.

Some health problems that can cause falling are urinary tract infection, dehydration, anemia (which can be caused by bleeding in the bowel or other causes), Pneumonia, heart problems, and strokes.

2. Blood Pressure and Pulse Reading When Sitting and Standing

This is important if your loved gets light headed or faints often. If they take blood pressure medication, make sure the doctor confirms they aren’t experiencing a drop in blood pressure while standing.

Checking blood pressure is one the most useful tests when a senior comes into the emergency room after fainting. Sadly, it’s only done by doctors a 3rd of a time.

3. Blood Tests

It’s always good to check a senior’s blood after a fall. Falls can happen more often by problems with blood count or blood sodium getting too high or low.

A complete blood cell count and a check of electrolytes and kidney function is a good way to start.

4. Medications

Side effects of medication are another reason that falls happen. These medications can often be reduced or even eliminated.

Any sedatives, tranquilizers, or any sleeping medications, like Ambien or Ativan, are places to look. Antipsychotic medications for restless dementia behavior can also increase falls.

There’s also blood pressure and diabetes medications. As mentioned before, it’s not unusual for seniors to be over treated for these conditions.

Medications that are in the anticholinergic are taken by seniors. They have no idea that it worsens their balance and thinking. These medications can include allergies medication, overactive bladder, vertigo, nausea, and certain types of antidepressants for nerve pain.

Finally, opiate pain medications, especially if they are new to taking them.

5. Gait and Balance

Doctors should preform a gait assessment. This means that the doctor looks at how an older person is walking. If they are off balance, see if there is any pain to address or if a physical therapist is needed.

6. Vitamin D Levels

Studies suggest that treating low vitamin D levels may help reduce falls. Low levels can cause fragile bones.

If your loved one stays inside a lot, they can take a vitamin D supplement. It will eventually raise and even out their levels.

7. Check for Underlying Heart or Neurological Conditions

These conditions are different from the “acute” types of illnesses that we usually look for after a fall. It’s possible for seniors to develop a new neurological condition like Parkinson’s disease.

8. Vision, Podiatry, and Home Safety

See if your loved one needs a vision test, podiatry care, or a home safety evaluation. Any of these services will help prevent future falls.

Read more here.

Fall Issues, Physical Therapy, and More

Fall Issues, Physical Therapy, and More

On this segment of “Caring for Seniors” Judy and Rich talk about fall issues, physical therapy, and more. Judy has been a licensed physical therapist for 32 years. She’s also the owner of Seniors Helping Seniors NH for 5 years. She often uses her knowledge from physical therapy to teach clients about fall prevention.

Fall Issues, Physical Therapy, and More

Fall Issues, Physical Therapy, and More

 

Judy talks about some simple things to add to homes when a loved one is still living at home. Adding grab bars, railings, ramps if possible, and places to sit scattered throughout the house can significantly lower the chance of falling.

Of course there is always a chance of falling. The sad fact is that people fall whether they are in the hospital, at home, or in a community. But listening to Judy’s suggestions can help minimize this fact.

Judy goes on to discuss the importance of physical therapy for seniors. It’s been assumed that we just weaken as we grow older. This is somewhat true, but physical therapy can help regain and maintain strength.

It’s not the perfect solution but it is a good start when paired with exercise. Many of Judy’s clients would be covered by insurance or Medicaid so they wouldn’t even have to pay for it, despite whether they have a new or old condition.

Physical therapy can offer ways to relearn how to move the body and how to properly exercise. For example, it’s been discovered that the idea of smaller weights and more sessions is now outdated and it’s better to have heavier weights and less sessions.

You can listen to the whole segment here.