Life Saving Skills for Seniors

How would you deal with an emergency situation? No one likes to think about the possibility of negative events, but the Boy Scouts motto is well-tested: being prepared makes a world of difference.

Call 911

Though perhaps obvious, there are a few things to remember when you  call 911. Responders need to know where you are to get to the location quickly. It’s crucial to stay calm and give the specifics concerning the location and the situation. Also, don’t hang up the phone once you’ve provided the information. The dispatcher will continue to communicate with you until the responders arrive.

Technology

Denise Champagne, Director of the Inkster Senior Center in Inkster, MI, since 1996, and working with senior programs since 1974, explains that isolation is one of the biggest factors affecting seniors’ health.  She sees technology as a useful tool for seniors, explaining, “Connected is protected.” Having a smart phone or device like Alexa or Siri, and knowing how to use it, could save your life. You can simply tell Siri to call 911 or an ambulance.  Alexa cannot call 911 for you, but can call one of your contacts, who can then call emergency services.

Also monitoring apps are downloadable to your phone, to document health information. WebMD, iPharmacy, Glucose Buddy, and Stress Check Pro are all free apps that assist with a  variety of services.

File of Life

File of Life, another useful tool, provides emergency responders who come to your home with necessary information to save valuable time. File of Life is connected to a refrigerator magnet attached to a plastic pocket. Inside the pocket is a card which holds relevant emergency information, including medical insurance number, primary care physician’s name and phone number along with emergency contacts. Alternatively, you could create your own medical information sheet.

No matter how you choose to make your information accessible, it is crucial that it be easy to find. The refrigerator is the standard place for this, but make sure it is visible. The pictures of your grandchildren are definitely adorable, but don’t let them obscure this vital information.

Classes

Classes are available for instruction on various life saving skills.

CPR (CardioPulmonary Resuscitation) is one of the most well known life saving techniques. The Red Cross offers classes, both online and in person, for CPR along with classes for First Aid Training,  BLS (Basic Life Support), and AED training (Automated External Defibrillator, a medical device that re-establishes an effective heart rhythm, if necessary). Find a Red Cross class near you at redcross.org/local/ohio/take-a-class

The internet has an endless variety of web sites and videos. The Red Cross also has its own YouTube channel, with videos about many different kinds of life saving skills, as well as disaster preparedness suggestions. youtube.com/user/AmRedCross

Emergency situations can be intimidating and scary. Taking charge and being prepared makes those situations more manageable.  Empowering yourself through knowledge can give you the confidence to take action and could mean the difference between life and death. The more you know, the more you can do.

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