Local Families Urged to ICE Seniors’ Cell Phones

Local Families Urged to ICE Seniors’ Cell Phones

By Courtesy of Stacey Hilton – Visiting Angels Living Assistance Services

 

 

 

In Case of Emergency SafetyCampaign Aims to Keep Elderly Safe in Cold – As cold temperatures blanket ourarea, a growing number of seniors may wind up in trouble, stuck in lifethreatening situations. They may slip and fall, their car might break down, andthey may get lost, confused, or stranded – literally left out in the cold.That’s why Visiting Angels, one of the nation’s largest in-home senior careagencies witha location in our area, haslaunched the ICEa Cell Phone Safety Campaign to help seniors in case ofemergency. To ICE a cell phone, you load emergency contacts in seniors’phones with the word ICE in front of the emergency contacts’ names, so whensomeone finds a senior in trouble they know who to call InCase of Emergency. Visiting Angels hopes this will become a universalemergency plan – a quick way for emergency responders to pick up a senior’scell phone, and press the letter ‘I’ to findseniors’ emergency contacts.“We urge families to ICE seniors’ phones, or come by our offices and we will ICEseniors’ phones for free,” says Larry Meigs, CEO of Visiting Angels. “We carefor thousands of older Americans, and we constantly hear stories about howfamilies need an emergency plan for seniors. One family told us their elderlyloved one with dementia roamed five miles from home. When police tried to helpthey had no clue who to call. ICE contactshelp responders know who to call in emergencies in this cold or at any time ofyear.” {{more}}Howto ICE Seniors’ Cell Phones: Under ‘I’ in the cell phone contact list, load the In Case of Emergency contact names, beginning with the word ICE . Make sure the emergency contact agree to be an ICE partner. Include every phone number of the ICE partner. ICE partners should know the seniors’ medical conditions, doctors’ names and medications they’re taking. An ICE sticker can save a life. Place a Visiting Angels’ ICE Loaded sticker on seniors’ cell phones, so if someone finds a senior in trouble they know who to call in an emergency.ColdWeather CaregiversAlong with ICE-ing seniors’ cell phones, Visiting Angels caregivers come toseniors’ homes to protect them from cold weather dangers. *Older Americanscan’t feel cold weather shifts like younger people, and they may suffer fromhypothermia without even knowing they’re in danger. According to the American Academy ofFamily Physicians, more than half of all hypothermia-related deaths happen inpeople over age 65.ColdWeather Caregivers help seniors with:OutdoorTasks – caregivers can do outdoor tasksfor seniors, such as shovel snow and get the mail. People who are outdoors incold weather should avoid sudden exertion, like lifting a heavy shovel full ofsnow. Even walking through heavy, wet snow or snow drifts can strain a person’sheart, according to the American Heart Association. Proper Dressing – dress seniors in loose-fitting layers when headingoutside. High winds, snow and rain can steal body heat. Wind is especiallydangerous because it removes the layer of heated air from around your body.Layers of loose clothing trap air, creating a protective insulation.SeniorCold Weather Safety Kits –caregivers can make sure seniors have these items on hand during the cold:emergency radio, essential medications, copies of prescriptions and medicalrecords, extra set of car keys, first aid kit, flashlights and fresh batteries,ready-to-eat foods, stock of water to last three days, heavy-duty windshieldice scraper, snow shovel. ProperThermostat Setting – experts suggest to keep thethermostat at at least 65 degrees in cold weather months. Sometimes seniorsforget to turn up the heat or will try to save money by not turning up theheat.Insulation Check – caregivers can check doors and windows to make sure coldair is not getting inside seniors’ homes.BlanketCheck – be sure seniors are using extrablankets, not electric blankets, to sleep. Electric blankets are a known firehazard.HypothermiaCheck – this condition occurs when thebody can’t produce enough energy to keep the internal body temperature warmenough. Hypothermia can be fatal. Most of these deaths are caused by heartfailure.* Symptomsof hypothermia include: mentalconfusion, slowed reactions, lack of coordination, shivering and sleepiness. * The risk of developing hypothermiacan increase when seniors have under-active thyroids, diabetes or heartdisease, or take certain prescriptions.Some medications that are used to treat anxiety, depression or nausea, or evensome over-the-counter cold remedies can increase an older person’s riskfor hypothermia.*American Heart Association