Basic First Aid Tips for the Elderly
Advanced living and health standards today have brought about individuals seeing through their 80s and even 90s. However, it should not be overlooked that the elderly are also at high risk for accidents whether inside or outside their homes.
Becoming accident prone comes with age. Deteriorating eyesight, thinning skin, muscle and bone loss all impact an aging person’s strength, mobility and overall well-being. These physiological limitations lead to one’s susceptibility to injuries. It thus pays to be prepared as possible. Being mindful of common avoidable hazards as well as first aid knowledge are only necessary to make a lifesaving difference for seniors.
Keeping a First Aid Kit
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 25% of adults age 65 or older get into an accident, mostly by tumbling, further causing hip fractures, head traumas, or puncture wounds. This emphasizes the need for a handy first-aid kit to give a senior emergency assistance. First aid kits enable caregivers to take action in case of accidents. Unfortunate incidents may include falls, cuts and scrapes, burns, and poisoning.
Common causes of falls include poor vision, immobility, medications that have dizzying side effects, and overall balancing problems. For immediate medical care, controlling any bleeding, also handling carefully and immobilizing the area is recommended. Checking for blockage of blood circulation (signs include blue fingers and toes) and calling for further medical help are important steps to take. Remember to not move the person or reset his or her bones. Speaking to them reassuringly will help to keep them calm.
Individuals giving care to seniors must foresee situations where burns are most likely to happen. Incidents that usually lead to burns are when taking hot showers or baths, consuming hot meals, turning on the stove, operating the heater, or too much sun exposure. Caregivers are in charge of taking precautions to avoid burns. In case of minor burns, antibiotic wipes or cream must be used to soothe and cleanse the burn. Seeking emergency medical help is best in the event of major burns.
Due to dementia or forgetfulness, seniors are prone to accidentally taking the wrong medication or the wrong dosage. For those in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, seniors may even reach for the wrong liquids that are unsafe for consumption. Placing hazardous chemicals out of reach or putting them away and locking them is a form of safety precaution. In the event of poisoning of a senior loved one, calling for medical help and having the suspected pill bottle on hand for reference are the best steps. Do not induce vomiting unless directed to do so.
To avoid infection, cleaning a minor and major wound with soap and water is important. The second step is to apply an antibiotic cream after drying the wounded area. Should a senior loved one complain of further pain or infection, or worse, the wound takes time to heal, seek medical help.