Have a Safe Spring! Important Spring Health and Safety Reminders for Seniors
What’s on your spring cleaning list? Organizing the pantry? Putting together a big donation of gently used clothes? When it comes to refreshing your environment (and life) this spring, don’t forget these important health and safety reminders:
It’s time to go through the medicine cabinet and clean out old, unused and expired products and prescriptions.
Did you know that flushing medicine down the toilet or simply tossing it in the trash isn’t always the best way to dispose of it? For pills, capsules and liquids where the box does not describe instructions for disposal, follow FDA guidelines:
- Empty the medicine into a re-sealable bag.
- (Optional) Add dish soap and a little water to pills and capsules to help them dissolve.
- Place a scoop of kitty litter, coffee grounds or dirt to absorb the liquid.
- Throw in the trash
If you have unused prescriptions, you may want to instead see if there are any drug take-back programs coming up in your area.
Oftentimes, pharmacies and local law enforcement will hold special drug take-back days where you can safely drop off old prescriptions so they can properly dispose of them.
Don’t forget to remove the prescription label or mark out any personal information before you recycle or give back pill bottles though!
Spring cleaning plays an important role in fall prevention as you take extra care in eliminating clutter and other potential trip hazards, which is great.
But what about outside the house – are the railings on your outdoor decks or porches sturdy? Are sidewalks, doorsteps and ramps up to the house clear of leaves and debris? Is there non-slip adhesive to prevent slipping and falling? Remember these important places too!
Spring may be a great time to invest in a medical alert system as well. If you or a loved one you care for are living in fear after experiencing a fall, coping with mobility issues or battling a chronic illness, a medical alert system can provide peace of mind and make it easy and quick to contact help in the event of an emergency.
Finally, don’t forget fire prevention when it comes to home safety this spring. Make sure to:
- Check that your fire extinguisher is charged, not expired and accessible.
- Test smoke and CO2 detectors for live and active batteries.
- Remove fire hazards from around the dryer (like clothes, cardboard boxes, lint, etc.).
- Properly clean the barbecue grill and make sure it’s not sitting under any overhanging structure (like a carport or balcony) when in use.
- If you use a propane grill, check the line for leaks or breaks.
- Clear built-up debris, leaves and dead vegetation from around the house.
- Empty the garage of common fire starters like old newspapers, boxes, etc.
Is your first aid kit stocked and ready to use in the event of an emergency? If not, add it to your spring cleaning checklist.
In addition to first aid basics like band-aids, gauze, antibiotic ointment, wound solution and alcohol swabs, don’t forget elastic bandages, scissors, tweezers, anti-itch cream, an instant cold compress, antihistamine tablets, and over-the-counter pain relievers.
Update your own and your loved one’s lists of current medications including name, dosage and frequency and post them somewhere visible, like in the bathroom or kitchen.
You can also take this time to update the Medical ID information in your smartphone. Most iPhones and Androids have a health app now where you can save your name, birth date, allergies, health conditions, blood type and medication list.
In the event you are hurt or ill and unable to speak, emergency responders are commonly trained to check your phone for this information – it is designed so they can access it from the lock screen without having to know your passcode.
What’s your favorite spring cleaning project? Do you prioritize health and safety projects like these during spring cleaning? Please share your own tips that you have found helpful over the years.