Gail J. Shaw

Summer will soon be here and St. John’s Community Care is thinking about safety. As I sit at my desk, I think about the many different ways the St. John’s Home Services Program has helped out clients and their families over the years. The client’s safety is very important to us and why many chose to use St. John’s to help maintain their independence.

Seniors or those dealing with disabilities can face many different safety issues. Some may involve looking at ways to make a home easier to maneuver in i.e. removing rugs or adding more lighting so one doesn’t trip, use of adaptive equipment in the bathroom or simply putting kitchen items at a height that is easier to reach. At other times, it is more personal, i.e. using a personal emergency response system, a pill dispenser unit which reminds you to take your medication or just having someone around when you want to bathe/shower. Also, Senior Citizen scams are on the rise and it may bring individuals or families some peace of mind knowing that trained caregivers are in the home and watching out for the clients. St. John’s caregivers have on several occasions prevented someone trying to scam our clients out of money either through a phone call or coming to the house to make false repairs on the roof.

As Care Coordinators, Patti Haddick and I review a variety of concerns with clients and families when we make our initial home visit and subsequent 90-day supervisory visits. We will perform a walk through to point out immediate areas to address or suggested ideas for future thought. Bathrooms can be a very hazardous place for the frail. We have encouraged the use of bath equipment from our Medical Loan Program to make showering or toileting easier for the individual. We have also worked with pharmacies to set-up pill keepers or encouraged the use of home delivered meals for clients. Schedules are set up to assist the client at the time of day or evening that bests serves the one in need of services. St. John’s caregivers have brought families peace of mind on numerous occasions. One that comes to mind was when a caregiver heard a slight noise which caused her to check out the utility room. She found sparks coming from where the dryer was plugged in to the electrical socket. The caregiver was able to call 911 and then safely removed the client, who had been resting in another room, from the home. The Fire Department said the client and caregiver got out of the house in time. This situation would have turned into a house fire if the caregiver hadn’t made the 911 call. We all hated to think what would have happened if our caregiver had not been present, since this particular client is not able to move fast or speak well due to a history of strokes.

Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If safety for yourself or a loved one is a concern, please call St. John’s Community Care at 618-344-5008. Either Patti Haddick or I would welcome a chance to review possible ways to address your safety issues.