. Thanks to 911 HelpNow for making this post possible. All opinions are my own.
When you are the primary care provider for another person, it is natural to want to do everything in your power to ensure their happiness, health, and safety. When your loved one has a disability or has special needs, efforts to ensure that they are safe both inside and outside the home go beyond typical measures. Whether your special needs loved one has dementia, mobility limitations, or an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), keeping them safe becomes a major concern.
Safety Tips for Care Providers
Make Your Home Safe
- Consider using safety items- similar to those you would use for a toddler— to help prevent accidental injury. Safety items to consider include toilet locks, cabinet locks, electrical outlet covers, and furniture wall straps. You may also want to consider using corner cushions on tables and other furniture with pointed corners.
- Lock away hazardous items such as chemicals.
- Keep medications stored safely.
- Label items the things they use.
- Consider turning down the temperature on your hot water heater, to prevent accidental burns.
- Arrange furniture in a way to minimize risk of injury. If your loved one uses a mobility device, ensure that they have plenty of room to pass through areas they will use frequently. Keep table surfaces clear of objects that may be knocked off accidentally. Avoid using throw rugs if there is a risk of falling.
- If your loved one is at high-risk for wandering or running away, use the locks on exterior doors and windows to prevent them from leaving. Installing alarms on doors and windows would alert you of attempts to exit.
Use a One Touch Personal Emergency Device
Giving our children and loved ones with special needs the ability to get emergency help with the touch of a button is key to maximizing their independence. Using a one touch personal emergency device gives them that ability. That said, many available devices are cost prohibitive and have high monthly service fees or have limited range coverage. They may also be complicated for many individuals to use.
The new and now widely available 911 HelpNow device is changing that. With the touch of one button, it connects to the nearest 911 operator and will work anywhere there is a cell service. After connecting to 911, simply speak into the device to tell the operator the nature of the emergency. It is seriously that simple. There is also an Accidental Call Cancel Button.
It does require AAA batteries, which it comes with. It is splash resistant. The best part? There are NO monthly service fees and NO hidden feeds. It is simple to set up — simply install the batteries and choose whether a lanyard or pocket clip is the best way to wear it.
We had the opportunity to test this device for my nephew, who has multiple conditions that cause safety concerns, including epilepsy and ASD.
My sister goes to extraordinary measures to keep him safe when she is with him. Keeping him safe when she is not with him has always been a source of concern for her, because his seizures are often without warning and because he has difficulty performing certain tasks like dialing the phone. Knowing that he can call 911 on his own, if need be, will give her a sense of peace she’s not known in a quite some time.
Establish a Safety Plan
Develop a safety plan for your loved one. Involve them according to the level of their understanding. Alert your local community center, police department, and 911 call center of your concerns and safety plan to help them respond appropriately if/when needed.
The 911 HelpNow device is available at https://www.911helpnow.com/ or on Amazon. For a limited time, when ordering on the 911 HelpNow site, using Promo Code Help20 will you 20 percent on the purchase price!