Some of the most common injuries that occur in the home are bumps, bruises, scalds and burns. Unfortunately, amongst the elderly, falls are the most common cause of injury but also mostly preventable. According to the CDC, with adults aged 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions 1. So it’s a good idea to have an emergency kit set up and tailored for your loved one’s specific needs, especially if they live alone.
Start with a container that’s easy to open and keep it in a place that is accessible and visible. Add some basic first aid supplies such as non-stick gauze, self-adherent bandage, roller gauze and butterfly closures. Avoid any tape or bandages that are too sticky as they could irritate or even tear the skin. Keep an emergency supply of spare medication handy as well as a thorough list of your current meds (include any vitamins and minerals taken concurrently) and a list of emergency contacts. Place of list of emergency numbers on the refrigerator or beside the phone.
Run through how to use the items in the emergency kit. Make sure that when including any anti-itch creams, burn gels or antiseptics, there won’t be any interactions with the current medications your loved one is taking. Consult your physician or pharmacist to be sure and safe.
Falls are common but mostly preventable. Clear the house of cords and mats you could slip or trip over. Place non-slip mats in the bathroom where needed. There are plenty of safety aids and equipment available for the home to make completing daily tasks easier and safer.
Because falls are so common, one might consider purchasing a medical alert system (alarm bracelets or alert pendants) that can easily be worn around the neck or wrist. There are also wireless devices available that will connect with the home phone, activating the speakerphone at the push of a button. This would provide peace of mind for you and your loved one- knowing that if he or she fell and could not get up or reach a phone, emergency services could still be notified.
Below is a basic list of supplies needed to start building your home first aid kit.
Basic Emergency Kit List
- Self-adherent bandage
- Non-stick gauze
- Roller gauze
- Butterfly closures
- Triangular Bandage
- Cotton balls
- Gentle antiseptic of your choice
- Alcohol pads
- Blunt-tipped scissors
- Magnifying glass
- Disposable Gloves
- Anti-itch cream or powder
- Pain medication of your choice (aspirin, ibuprofen etc)
- List of all current medications with dosage and time of day taken
- List of emergency contact information and name of doctor(s)
- Spare medication (make sure to check expiration dates)
- An antihistamine of your choice or EpiPen if required for anaphylaxis
- Extra batteries (for hearing aids, flashlight)
- Hot Pack
- Cold Pack
Mrs. Jenna Paxton is a medical blogger and staff writer atÂ Medshop Australia, Australia’s leading supplier ofÂ medical equipmentÂ and supplies to home, student and professional users.