Enhance oxygen safety with these tips.
Most of us seldom give much thought to oxygen. It’s an invisible, harmless gas that is all around us, ready to take in with our next breath. Even though it surrounds us in the air we breathe, concentrated oxygen delivered to those with health conditions can be dangerous, for two main reasons:
- Oxygen can potentiate fires. Oxygen is itself not “flammable,” but it causes other things to catch fire at lower temperatures and burn hotter and faster.
- Oxygen is considered a medication and it is possible to overdose.
Because of these two major dangers, special oxygen safety measures need to be followed closely. At Nightingale Homecare, we provide senior care Phoenix AZ families trust, and we assist those using prescribed home oxygen in staying safe by educating on and adhering to the following safety considerations:
- Do not smoke around oxygen and keep away from open flame (candles, gas stoves).
- Place “No Smoking” signs throughout your house.
- Do not use appliances that could produce sparks while wearing oxygen (electric razors and hair dryers).
- Do not cook while wearing oxygen.
- Store cylinders on an appropriate stand and secured to the wall, or on their side on the floor to prevent tipping. If they fall over and the valve comes loose, they can become a dangerous missile.
- Store cylinders at room temperature, away from heat or direct sunlight.
- Keep oils/petroleum products such as Vaseline away from oxygen.
- Use cotton bed sheets and clothing to prevent static electricity and sparks.
- Keep your oxygen equipment at least ten feet away from open flames and heat sources.
- Keep at least 5 feet away from electric stoves or heaters.
- Keep the service number for your oxygen equipment nearby, in case something breaks.
- Do not store oxygen in an enclosed area, such as a car or closet. When traveling in a car with oxygen, always have a window slightly opened.
- Do not store oxygen cylinders in the trunk of a car.
- Do not cover oxygen tubing with bedding, carpet or furniture.
- Do not allow children or untrained individuals to handle or operate oxygen equipment.
- Make sure your smoke detectors are tested regularly.
- Have a fire escape plan.
- Do not leave oxygen on while not in use.
- Do not use oxygen without a doctor’s order.
- Don’t change your dose, except when prescribed by a doctor, since using too much or too little can cause serious health problems.
- Regularly clean and maintain your equipment as instructed by the supplying company.
For more oxygen safety tips, or to arrange for a free in-home assessment to learn more about how our professional home health care team can enhance overall safety, comfort, and wellbeing for your senior loved one, call on Nightingale Homecare. As the top providers of senior care Phoenix AZ families rely on for expert, compassionate assistance, we’re available to help with a wide variety of needs. Contact us at (602) 504-1555 to learn more.
During the season of hot toddies and champagne toasts, it’s important for all of us to be aware of the adverse effects of overindulging in alcohol, but even more so for the seniors in our lives to avoid potential health risks. Take, for example, the recommendations of The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which advises that people over age 65 should have no more than three drinks in a 24-hour period, or seven drinks total in one week.
How the body handles alcohol can change dramatically with age. Older adults generally experience the effects of alcohol more quickly than when they were younger, so your loved one may have the same drinking habits, but his or her body has changed, medication has been added or a health condition has developed, all of which can intensify the effects of alcohol. The combination of alcohol and aging puts seniors at higher risk for falls, car accidents, and other accidental injuries.
ALCOHOL AND AGING HEALTH RISKS
Certain health problems are common in older adults, and drinking alcohol can make these conditions worse:
- Immune system disorders
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Congestive heart failure
- Liver problems
- Memory problems
- Mood disorders
MEDICATIONS AND ALCOHOL
Many prescription and over-the-counter medications can be dangerous and even deadly when mixed with alcohol. Since the majority of older adults typically take at least one medication daily, and many take multiple medications each day, it’s important to make certain your loved one has checked with his or her doctor or pharmacist to ensure it’s safe to drink alcohol. Here are some common medications that can be dangerous when mixed with alcohol:
- Cold and allergy medicine
- Cough syrup
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Sleeping medication
- Pain medication
Of course, you cannot force your loved one to stop drinking, but you can come prepared with information on the health and safety risks associated with drinking and offer support. A discussion about the health problems or medication dangers that can increase with alcohol use is an important conversation to have. These tips can help seniors cut back on their alcohol consumption:
- Count how many ounces of alcohol are in each drink.
- Keep track of the number of drinks consumed each day.
- Ask your loved one to decide how many days a week he or she plans to drink.
- Suggest planning some days that are free of alcohol.
- Find some healthy alternatives to the senior’s alcoholic beverage choice and replace with that beverage on off days or in between drinks.
- Advise your loved one to not have more than one alcoholic drink in an hour. In place of the alcohol, replace with the non-alcoholic drink of choice.
- Advise your loved one to always eat or nibble when drinking and eat prior to drinking. Alcohol will enter the system more slowly with food in the stomach.
If your loved one wants to stop drinking altogether, but isn’t able to do it on his or her own, there is help. Start by talking with his or her doctor for advice about treatment. Local health departments or social services agencies may also be helpful. Here are some other tips to try:
- Talk to a trained counselor who knows about alcohol problems in older people.
- Find a support group for people with alcohol problems, like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), or Smart Recovery.
- Locate a therapist for individual, family or group therapy, whatever works best for your loved one.
And, call on Nightingale Homecare for more help keeping your senior loved ones safe and healthy with our professional Arizona home health care services! You can reach us any time at 602-504-1555.
We all face the temptation to find excuses not to make fitness a priority. We’ve got so many other commitments; who has time to exercise? Perhaps just for today we’ll skip that workout; after all, there’s always tomorrow!
If anyone has a legitimate excuse to forego a regular exercise regimen, however, it’s seniors with limited mobility. Who can begrudge an older adult who’s lived a full and active life the opportunity to slack off now and lead a life of leisure, particularly when the difficulties of aging interfere with the ability to exercise?
The reality, though, is that even the elderly can benefit tremendously from maintaining an exercise routine that is appropriate for their fitness and mobility levels. Studies have shown that staying fit helps decrease feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and improves a senior’s overall outlook on life.
The challenge comes in determining what exercises can be safely done by seniors, especially those with conditions such as obesity, diabetes, arthritis, or other chronic illnesses or disabilities. Of course, it’s imperative to work with the senior’s physician to create a fitness plan. With the doctor’s approval, some of the following activities can help seniors get moving and improve health and wellbeing:
- Strength training: Utilize traditional weights, or common household objects such as ordinary cans of soup, to build up endurance and strength. Strive for two or three sets of 8 – 12 repetitions of bicep and tricep exercises, shoulder presses and rotations, and arm and leg extensions.
- Flexibility: Stretching exercises can be performed in just about any position, including seated and supine. Modified yoga and tai chi options can be used for those confined to a wheelchair or while lying down. Group classes at a local senior center or YMCA are also a great option for enhancing socialization.
- Cardio: Raising heart rate when mobility is limited can be a challenge, but there are a variety of repetitive exercises that, when performed rapidly, will provide aerobic benefits. Try using resistance bands wrapped underneath a chair and working through 20 to 30 reps of chest presses, look into water aerobic classes and other wheelchair-friendly equipment at a gym, or even seek out an organization that offers adapted wheelchair sports.
As with any exercise regimen, it’s also important to warm up before beginning and cool down afterwards, and again, always get the permission of a doctor who knows your medical history before beginning a new exercise program. These suggestions can help determine how to safely accomplish that to avoid injury.
Nightingale Homecare loves helping seniors stay active, and our professional Phoenix senior care staff are here to serve as cheerleaders to encourage your senior loved ones, and to participate in exercising with them at whatever level the doctor determines is appropriate. Contact us at 602-504-1555 to learn more!