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Tips for Seniors

  1. Always ask the person how you can best assist. 
  2. Ask/Look for:
  • An identification bracelet with special health information. 
  • Emergency contact information to reach the person’s family. 
  • Essential equipment and supplies (for example: medicine, wheelchair, walker, oxygen, batteries, communication devices: head pointers, alphabet boards, speech synthesizers, etc.).  
  • Mobility aids (for example, wheelchair, cane, walker or an assistance or service animal). 
  • Special health instructions (for example, allergies). 
  • Special communication information (for example, the person might say [s]he is stressed, look confused, withdraw, start rubbing their hands together). 
  • Conditions that people might misinterpret (for example, someone might mistake Cerebral Palsy for drunkenness). 
  • Try to include the person in conversations with other people; don’t talk about a person in front of that person. 
  • If the person does not use words to speak, look for gestures or other behaviors that communicate what that person wants to express. 
  • Don’t assume that people do not understand just because they don’t use words to communicate.
  • Always ask the person how you can best assist them. 
  • Some elderly persons may respond more slowly to a crisis and may not fully understand the extent of the emergency. Repeat questions and answers if necessary. Be patient! Taking time to listen carefully or to explain again may take less time then dealing with a confused person who may be less willing to cooperate. 
  • Reassure the person that they will receive medical assistance without fear of being placed in a nursing home. 
  • Older people may fear being removed from their homes - be sympathetic and understanding and explain that this relocation is temporary. 
  • Before moving an elderly person, assess their ability to see and hear; adapt rescue techniques for sensory disabilities. 
  • Persons with a hearing loss may appear disoriented and confused when all that is really "wrong" is that they can't hear you. Determine if the person has a hearing aid. If they do, is it available and working? If it isn't can you get a new battery to make it work? 
  • If the person has vision loss, identify yourself and explain why you are there. Let the person hold your arm and then guide them to safety. 
  • If possible, gather all medications before evacuating. Ask the person what medications they are taking and where their medications are stored. Most people keep all their medications in one location in their homes. 
  • If the person has dementia, turn off emergency lights and sirens if possible. Identify yourself and explain why you are there. Speak slowly, using short words in a calm voice. Ask "yes" or "no" questions: repeat them if necessary. Maintain eye contact. 
  • If you suspect the person has dementia or Alzheimer's, do not leave the person unattended.



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