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.