Cape Gazette
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FAMILIES URGED TO ICE SENIOR'S CELL PHONES "In Case of Emergency" Safety Campaign Aims to Keep Elderly Safe in Cold

By Visiting Angels | Jan 18, 2014
The "ICE" (In Case of Emergency) safety campaign, launched by Visiting Angels home care, helps to quickly identify which contacts on your loved-ones' cell phones to contact first in an emergency, by spelling out ICE before their names in their contact list on their phones.

Sussex, DE, .... As cold temperatures blanket our area, a growing number of seniors may wind up in trouble, stuck in life threatening situations. They may slip and fall, their car might break down, or they may get lost, confused, or stranded – literally left out in the cold. That’s why Visiting Angels, a leading homecare company, has launched the ICE a Cell Phone Safety Campaign to help seniors in case of emergency.

To ICE a cell phone, you load emergency contacts in seniors’ phones with the word ICE in front of the emergency contacts’ names, so when someone finds a senior in trouble they know who to call In Case of Emergency. Visiting Angels hopes this will become a universal emergency plan – a quick way for emergency responders to pick up a senior’s cell phone, and press the letter ‘I’ to find seniors’ emergency contacts.

“We urge families to ICE seniors’ phones, or come by our offices and we will ICE seniors’ phones for free,” says Annalise Forman, Director of Visiting Angels in Milton. “We care for hundreds of older Americans, and we often hear stories about loved ones with dementia roaming far from home.  Sometimes a person or police officer wants to help, but can’t find identification, so they don’t know who to call first.  ICE contacts on a cell phone help responders know who to call in emergencies in this cold or at any time of year.”

How to 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 (ie: ICE_Heather).

* Make sure the emergency contact(s) agree to be an ICE partner.

* Include every phone number (home, cell & work) of the ICE partner.

* ICE partners should know the seniors’ medical conditions, doctors’ names and medications they’re taking

* 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.  An ICE sticker can save a life!

Cold Weather Caregivers

Along with ICE-ing seniors’ cell phones, Visiting Angels caregivers come to seniors’ homes to protect them from cold weather dangers. *Older Americans can’t feel cold weather shifts like younger people, and they may suffer from hypothermia without even knowing they’re in danger. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, more than half of all hypothermia-related deaths happen in people over age 65.

Cold Weather Caregivers help seniors with:

Outdoor Tasks – caregivers can get the mail, do the shopping or any other errands that require being outside for a period of time.

Proper Dressing – dress seniors in loose-fitting layers when heading outside. High winds, snow and rain can steal body heat. Wind is especially dangerous because it removes the layer of heated air from around your body. Layers of loose clothing trap air, creating a protective insulation.

* Senior Cold Weather Safety Kits – caregivers can make sure seniors have these items on hand during the cold: emergency radio, essential medications, copies of prescriptions and medical records, 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 windshield ice scraper, snow shovel.

Proper Thermostat Setting - experts suggest keeping the thermostat at least 65 degrees in cold weather months. Sometimes seniors forget to turn up the heat or will try to save money by not turning up the heat

Insulation Check - caregivers can check doors and windows to make sure cold air is not getting inside seniors’ homes.

Blanket Check – be sure seniors are using extra blankets, not electric blankets, to sleep. Electric blankets are a known fire hazard.

Hypothermia Check – this condition occurs when the body can’t produce enough energy to keep the internal body temperature warm enough. Hypothermia can be fatal. Most of these deaths are caused by heart failure.

 

  • Symptoms of hypothermia include: mental confusion, slowed reactions, lack of coordination, shivering and sleepiness.

  • The risk of developing hypothermia can increase when seniors have under-active thyroids, diabetes or heart disease, or take certain prescriptions. Some medications that are used to treat anxiety, depression or nausea, or even some over-the-counter cold remedies can increase an older person’s risk for hypothermia.

*American Heart Association

 

Visiting Angels provides caregivers from a few hours a week to 24/7 live-in care at affordable hourly rates. Friendly, compassionate “Angels’ offer help with personal hygiene, meal preparation, light housekeeping, shopping, errands and appointments, and joyful companionship this winter and year round.

For more information, or to schedule a free in-home assessment, call anytime at 302-329-9475 or visit visitingangels.com/sussexde

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CONTACT: David Forman, dforman@visitingangels.com, 973-477-7489

 

 

 

 

 

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