Family caregivers are responsible for helping their elderly relatives keep their homes in top shape. From regular maintenance to yearly repairs, ensuring an aging loved one has a safe place to live is part of elderly care. But how many family caregivers think about the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning?
What is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Carbon monoxide is produced by combustible things like cars and charcoal grills. When inhaled, it causes numerous health issues. This deadly gas is responsible for thousands of hospital visits and hundreds of deaths each year. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to succumbing to carbon monoxide poisoning. The number of carbon monoxide poisoning cases also rise in the winter. That’s because people are more likely to run appliances that create carbon monoxide and less likely to have windows and doors open for ventilation.
Family caregivers should also learn to recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning in the elderly. In small amounts, victims may experience dizziness, nausea, headaches, disorientation and shortness of breath. Higher amounts can lead to permanent brain damage, unconsciousness and death. If an elderly family member seems like they are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, they should be taken to a well ventilated area while they wait for an ambulance to come.
How Can Caregivers Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Before family caregivers learn how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, they must learn where these gas leaks can come from. Basically, anything that combusts can generate carbon monoxide. The most common items in and near an elderly person’s home include water heaters, furnaces, boilers, fireplaces, wood stoves, propane heaters and grills, gasoline backup generators, automobiles and gasoline lawnmowers. Some of these can develop leaks, while others are accidentally left running in the home or garage.
Preventing carbon monoxide leaks from certain appliances, like furnaces and fireplaces, requires annual inspections and cleaning from professionals. The other aspect is never running machines or appliances indoors or in the garage, like grills, generators and more. Family caregivers can ensure their elderly relative will have plenty of warning in case of a leak by installing carbon monoxide detectors. These should be placed on the ceiling or high on the walls of every level of the house, plus one just outside the senior’s bedroom. It will emit a loud sound if unsafe levels of carbon monoxide are detected.
The first step in preventing carbon monoxide poisoning in an elderly loved one is to learn about what it is and where it comes from. Then, family caregivers can take the necessary steps within their elderly care plan to arrange for inspections, detectors and more. The winter season always sees a sharp increase in carbon monoxide poisoning cases, so there’s never a better time for family caregivers to do what it takes to keep their loved one safe.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Caregiver Services in Evanston IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
6 Tips for Family Caregivers for Seniors with Alzheimer's Disease
Caregivers in Evanston IL
When you first start caring for an elderly loved one who has Alzheimer's disease, you may not be sure quite what to expect. It's a winding road, definitely, but you can navigate it if you follow some of these techniques.
Kick Denial to the Curb
Your loved one is going to have good days and bad days. On the good days, it's really easy to lean on denial and believe that it's possible that the diagnosis was wrong. Then comes a bad day and you realize that your loved one is not doing well at all. Keep denial at bay during the good days and just enjoy them for what they are.
Avoid Asking if She Remembers Something
Often family members like asking their elderly loved ones if they remember something in particular, whether that's an old family story or what the loved one had for lunch the day before. These are tricky waters when your loved one has Alzheimer's disease, though, so it's best to avoid asking that question altogether.
Meet Your Loved One Where She Is, Not Where You Want Her to Be
Family members have a lot of hope when it comes to their elderly loved one, and that's a wonderful thing. But that can lead to denial and to setting expectations of their loved one. Instead, connect with your loved one at the level she's currently at. You'll have a much more successful interaction.
Use All the Tools You Can to Connect with Your Loved One
Sometimes a loved one may stop talking or only talk during certain situations. There are other ways that you can connect, though. Sometimes that can be through music, through creating something, or even children and pets. Use anything that your loved one responds to as a way to connect and to communicate with her.
Avoid Upsetting Topics
Some topics and situations are going to send your elderly loved one into proverbial orbit. You probably know exactly which ones, so it's best to avoid them completely. Then, if someone else brings up one of the verboten topics, change the subject quickly.
Remember to Take Care of Yourself
Above all, you have to remember to take care of yourself. Being a family caregiver to an elderly loved one with dementia or Alzheimer's disease is incredibly stressful and it takes so very much out of you, physically and emotionally.
Spending quality time with your elderly loved one is essential and these tips can help to make that time even better.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Evanston, IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
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