Older Americans Month – May 2013
May is celebrated as Older Americans Month in honor of the significant role that older individuals play in the United States. Since 1963, starting with President John F. Kennedy, each President has marked the occasion by reaffirming the nation’s dedication to protecting and meeting the needs of older citizens. This year, President Barack Obama carried on the tradition in vowing that his administration will continue to improve health care, Social Security, and volunteer opportunities for the nation’s elders.
From family members to friends and neighbors, older members of every community provide valuable insight and life experience that deserves recognition. If you have an older family member or loved one who lives with you, alone, or in an assisted care facility, there are a variety of ways in which you can help protect and ensure his or her safety.
For older individuals who live at home, here are a few simple steps that can help prevent injury or accidents:
- Turn the thermostat to the hot water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below in order to prevent scalding injuries.
- Install slide-proof surfaces, hand rails, and grab bars in bathrooms and along stairs to help prevent falls.
- Make sure that every room, hallway, or stairway has plenty of lighting. Motion-sensing lights throughout the home will also help prevent your loved one from tripping or falling.
- Install a smoke and carbon monoxide detector on every floor or stairwell.
If your loved one lives in a nursing home, you can still play an active role in his or her safety:
- Visit your loved one regularly and discuss how he or she is being treated by the nursing home staff.
- Observe the environment for health or safety hazards, such as faulty equipment, poor hygiene, clutter, or even lack of supervision.
- Communicate with the nursing home staff often about your loved one’s healthy, well-being, and medical needs.
- Document any signs of neglect or abuse, such as bed sores, unexplained injuries, or a drastic change in your loved one’s mood or attitude, and then consult the authorities and a skilled legal representative.
If you believe that someone you love is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in California, contact The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV to discuss your legal rights. Your first consultation is free. Call (888) 454-5569.