Home Care | New Tools To Assess Your Parents’ Driving Ability Pt. 2

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Home Care |  New Tools To Assess Your Parents’ Driving Ability Pt. 2

 

Home Care | 20 driving warning signs ranked from minor to serious:

  1. Decrease in confidence while driving
  2. Difficulty turning to see when backing up
  3. Easily distracted while driving
  4. Other drivers often honk horns
  5. Hitting curbs
  6. Scrapes or dents on the car, mailbox or garage
  7. Increased agitation or irritation when driving
  8. Failure to notice traffic signs or important activity on the side of the road
  9. Trouble navigating turns
  10. Driving at inappropriate speeds
  11. Uses a “copilot”
  12. Bad judgment making left turns
  13. Delayed response to unexpected situations
  14. Moving into wrong lane or difficulty maintaining lane position
  15. Confusion at exits
  16. Ticketed moving violations or warnings
  17. Getting lost in familiar places
  18. Car accident
  19. Failure to stop at stop sign or red light
  20. Stopping in traffic for no apparent reason

“We Need to Talk” is produced by AARP and is based on information created jointly by The Hartford and MIT AgeLab. The course can be accessed at www.aarp.org/weneedtotalk

More information about driving safety while you age, comprehensive driving evaluations, interactive tools for older drivers and their families, as well as a blog community is available at www.safedrivingforalifetime.com.

About the Hartford Advance 50 Team
The Hartford is one of the few companies in the United States with in-house experts on aging. For over 25 years, The Hartford has employed gerontologists to advance the creation and delivery of research, educational materials and innovative business solutions to enhance the quality of life for the 50+ market.

About the MIT AgeLab
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab is a global research program based within MIT’s Engineering Systems Division and Center for Transportation & Logistics. The AgeLab conducts research on technology, behavior and innovation to improve the quality of life of older adults and those who care for them. More about AgeLab’s research in transportation, health and wellness, and longevity planning is available athttp://agelab.mit.edu.  -Parent Giving

For more information on Home Care please do not hesitate to Call Complete Home Care at 561-408-7760.

Live-In Care | How Does It Work?

 Live-In Care | How Does It Work?

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Live-In Care | We don’t have a typical customer…

People consider live-in care for a whole variety of reasons, due to a whole range of conditions (from dementia to physical disabilities) and at different points in their lives. Here are just a few examples of circumstances where our carers can help:

  • Visiting (or domiciliary) care is no longer sufficient.
  • A residential care home hasn’t worked out.
  • Couples looking for a care solution that allows them to live together.
  • Younger people who want to live a full life independently.
  • A hospital discharge that’s dependent on 24 hour care.
  • A young person needing a little extra help to embark on their journey into independent adulthood.
  • Short-term care to give a regular carer a break.
  • If you’re seeking an economic alternative to residential care.
  • Or it can simply be because you want to have the choice to live independently in the privacy and comfort of your own home.

Living according to your lifestyle

We will work with you and your family to understand what quality of life means to you. We’ll then make sure you achieve it. For some, it’s simply providing the dignity of discrete personal care (toileting and washing), the security of feeling safe at night and help getting in and out of bed. Others appreciate us taking away the burden of remembering medication routines. Many appreciate a helping hand maintaining their high standards of housekeeping and laundry while for others being able to get out in the car, keeping up regular social routines and visiting friends gives them the feeling of freedom they want to preserve. Our carers will cover whatever you and your family want them to help with

Are you a caregiver looking for just the right help for your loved one? Are you unsure exactly how much care they need? Complete Home Care can help you. We know how important it is to mange every aspect of patient care, from a patient’s needs to the physician’s orders. That’s why every service we provide is supervised by our professionals and administrated from the initial consultation to recovery or treatment completion. Call Complete Home Care at 561-408-7760.

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Home Care | 7 Ways To Talk To Your Parents About Getting Help At Home Pt. 1

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Home Care | 7 Ways To Talk To Your Parents About Getting Help At Home Pt. 1

 

Home Care | 5. Mitigate fear.  An elderly person can act hostile towards a hired caregiver at times, but this action is most likely out of fear. Prior to attempting to alleviate this fear, it is important to understand it. Common fears include loss of independence, losing control and dignity and financial worries. The presence of an outsider is likely to leave the elder feeling vulnerable. Take this into consideration when communicating with them, and respond with empathy rather than with frustration. Realize how your own emotions may be impacting the conversation and increasing resistance. It is important to choose an appropriate time and place for these discussions and set aside time for them.

6. Test it out on a trial-basis. Try hiring an outside caregiver for in-home help on a short-term basis for respite or recovery care, after being discharged from the hospital or after a fall. This provides an opportunity to show your parent that having a caregiver is not something to fear and often leads to them being open to receiving ongoing care. If they currently rely on you or another family member or friend as their primary caregiver or source of help, try using a vacation as an excuse to bring in a professional caregiver while gone. Explain that it is for your own peace of mind.

7. Get advice from a professional. Try discussing the situation with your parent’s primary care physician (this is most likely someone they have known for years and trust). If he or she shares your concern for your parent, they are likely to help by talking to them, explaining why in-home care is the best option for them. Another option is to consult a geriatric care manager, a professional with special expertise in making these assessments, who will be able to provide you with further advice on how to prevent resistance when introducing the new living arrangements with your loved one.  -parent giving 

For more information on Home Care please do not hesitate to Call Complete Home Care at 561-408-7760.

Home Care | Overcome Wandering Worries Pt. 1

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Home Care | Overcome Wandering Worries Pt. 1

 

Home Care |  Caring for an ailing loved one can be exhausting—physically, mentally and emotionally—especially for spouses who may be aging as well. For caregivers of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, the fear and constant worrying about their loved one wandering away and becoming lost—called elopement—adds a tremendous amount of stress. Unable to find their way home or function well independently, elderly impaired individuals are at grave risk of injury or even death due to exposure to the elements or hazards they may encounter while wandering.

As a result, many caregivers cannot leave their loved ones alone for any length of time, fearing they may wander away without careful supervision. Unable to leave the house without constant worry, caregivers in this situation often feel they have no choice but to place their loved one into an assisted living or nursing home facility—a decision no one wants to make. While this does provide a more controlled and supervised environment, even this is no guarantee against wandering, as patients often elope from these facilities as well.

Fortunately, with the help of modern technology, it is possible to keep those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia symptoms safe and comfortable at home longer and provide much-needed peace of mind to caregivers.

Put Technology on Your Side

While untold dollars are spent each year on search and rescue technologies, often these are too little, too late in the event of an Alzheimer’s or dementia wandering event. Instead, consider technology that can actually provide the location of the missing person directly to emergency responders. A wristwatch-style device called EmSeeQ® uses cellular telephone technology to locate the wearer in the event of an emergency. In the event the EmSeeQ wearer wanders off, the caregiver calls 9-1-1 after a thorough search of usual places. Once the incident is reported to the authorities, the caregiver calls the EmSeeQ toll-free hotline to report the missing person. The EmSeeQ device is then remotely activated and immediately places a call to 9-1-1, triggering the national E-9-1-1 emergency location system. -Parent Giving 

 

For more information on Home Care please do not hesitate to Call Complete Home Care at 561-408-7760.

Home Care | Caring for an Alzheimer’s Patient at Home

Home Care | Caring for an Alzheimer’s Patient at Home

 home care
 Home Care |  Estimates of the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease often vary, but the U.S. National Institutes of Health puts the range between 2.5 million and 4.5 million. One thing is certain — the number of Alzheimer’s disease cases will rise significantly as the baby boomers swell the numbers of the over 65s. It is projected that 10 million baby boomers will develop Alzheimer’s disease.

If one has to care for a patient with dementia or Alzheimer’s, it is important to know what things to expect. This can help the famliy caregiver plan for the future and cope with the sometimes overwhelming burdens of caring for the patient.

The family caregiver will observe and have to handle many aspects of behavioral and physical problems.

Communication

The Alzheimer’s patient with dementia gradually loses capacity to remember, understand, speak or write coherently (aphasia). The patient may become repetitious and engage in meaningless behavior. The family caregiver will need to learn verbal techniques, such as using short sentences, pleasant tone of voice, memory aids and simple messages, as well as effective nonverbal communications, including eye contact and touch.

Mobility

Alzheimer’s patients tend to pace excessively, lose their way in once familiar surroundings (apraxia), and experience gait (walking) difficulties. Care should involve providing a secure home environment to prevent falls, such as having adequate lighting, removing loose rugs, and rearranging the furniture to allow better mobility.

There should be protected areas for pacing and walking around, mobility devices. The patient will need to engage in exercises that maintain posture and enhance muscle strength. The family caregiver should receive instructions on how–to techniques to assist patient’s in moving, to be ambulatory as long as possible and to lower the chances of falling.

Continence

As the disease progresses, the Alzheimer’s patient will suffer bladder and bowel incontinence. Generally, these two conditions will happen separately. Bladder incontinence usually comes earlier, while bowel incontinence occurs toward the terminal stages.

Caregivers can help the Alzheimer’s patient prevent incontinence with tactics like timing bathroom breaks to coincide with observed patterns of incidence or using clothes that can be easily removed. There are also aids such as adult diapers and incontinence pads & liners that minimize skin breakdown, specially designed urinals, or even safety aids that help patients find the bathroom more quickly.

“If one has to care for an Alzheimer’s patient with dementia, it is important to know what things to expect. This can help the caregiver cope with the sometimes overwhelming burdens of caring for the patient.”

In addition, the caregiver needs to be sensitive to the patient’s embarrassment when incontinence occurs and frustration over the loss of control of these essential functions.

Customary activities of daily living

The level of assistance required will vary with individual patients. The caregiver’s goal is to allow independence of movement as much as the patient is capable, to encourage his or her efforts, and to help only to the extent needed. A patient may be able to perform an activity one day and be helpless the next.

Perception and cognition

The faculties of cognition and perception become compromised in Alzheimer’s patients. They may try to cover up these problems and their fear of failure, or avoid embarrassment by becoming withdrawn. The family caregiver can help by being reassuring and providing dependable support that helps the patient overcome anxieties and gain confidence. The caregiver can use memory aids to make up for fading memory and manipulate the home environment to reduce patient’s confusion.

The challenge of caring for Alzheimer’s patients can overwhelm the dedication and patience of the most competent caregiver. It is helpful for the family caregiver to join a support group to learn more and to share experiences with others in the same situation. -Parent giving 

 

 

For more information on Home Care please do not hesitate to Call Complete Home Care at 561-408-7760.

Home Care | Counseling Spouses of Alzheimer’s Patients

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Home Care | Counseling Spouses of Alzheimer’s Patients

 

Home Care |  Alzheimer’s disease afflicts more than 5.2 million Americans in 2008. And, as aging baby boomers swell the ranks of the over 65s, public health officials expect a steady increase in Alzheimer’s disease.

One area of concern is not often discussed: As more people are affected with Alzheimer’s disease, who will provide the care they need?

Dr. Richard Suzman of the U.S. National Institute on Aging believes policymakers and the rest of society have not fully grasped the magnitude of the future care requirements for all the people who will suffer from Alzheimer’s.

Care for Alzheimer’s patients in the early stages is often provided by family members. Spouses who care for their aging partners are less likely than adult children to tap community supports. This isolation can subject them to greater physical and emotional stress, particularly when the patient cannot be left alone.

Support to spousal caregivers

A study led by Dr. Mary Mittelman of the Silberman Aging and Dementia Research Center at New York University School of Medicine has found that spousal caregivers who receive counseling and support are better able to withstand the stress of providing care.

This counseling of spouses also improves the quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients – their  placement in nursing homes is delayed by an average of 557 days (or 1½ years) compared to spousal caregivers who do not avail themselves of such counseling and support. Dr. Mittelman estimates that families save at least $60,000 by delaying the nursing home placement.

This finding is the result of a 9½-year study involving 406 spousal caregivers. Half of them were provided six sessions of individual and family counseling in addition to support group participation and availability of telephone counseling. The other half served as control and did not get these interventions.

“Failure to tap community supports when providing care to Alzheimer’s patients can subject the spousal caregiver to greater physical and emotional stress.”

The six sessions were spread out over six weeks and included a discussion of what to expect as the disease worsens and lessons in coping skills. The caregivers were allowed to call counselors whenever they felt the need for more advice.

In addition to the deferred placement in nursing homes, the spousal caregivers who received counseling and support experienced an enhanced ability to cope positively with behavior problems in their partners. They also felt less vulnerable to bouts of caregiver depression or less prone to physical health problems.

The techniques for handling the patient’s tendency to wander around, or exhibit aggressive outbursts, or suffer incontinence, or other physical difficulties are not intuitive. These skills need to be taught to family caregivers, says Dr. Mittelman. Without expert instruction, people acquire their handling techniques by trial and error, and this may not be enough.

Similar studies by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and University of Nijmegen Medical Center researchers in the Netherlands agree with Dr. Mittelman’s findings: Quality of life, for both the patient and the spousal caregiver, is improved when family caregivers are counseled and properly trained. -Parent giving

 

For more information on Home Care please do not hesitate to Call Complete Home Care at 561-408-7760.

Home Care | Skin Cancer Prevention: It’s Never too Late

Home Care | Skin Cancer Prevention: It’s Never too Late

 

Home Care |   Growing older brings health concerns, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, but there’s still one risk that we tend to minimize—skin cancer, the most prevalent type of cancer there is. Adding to the worry, dermatologists now warn that men over 50 have an increased risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. And a new survey conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology found that most men are lax when it comes to proper sun protection and are unsure how to examine their skin for skin cancer.

SKIN CANCER PREVENTION—SURVEY STATISTICS
The Academy conducted an online survey of adults nationwide with these startling results:

  • When in the sun, just 29 percent of men say they always protect their skin, compared with 43 percent of women.
  • 39 percent of men compared to 28 percent of women say they prefer to enjoy sunshine and not worry about what they should do to protect themselves from it.
  • 46 percent feel they knew how to examine their skin for signs of skin cancer, compared with 59 percent of women.

“This survey demonstrates that many men do not protect themselves from the sun when outdoors and that some still believe that sun exposure is good for their health. This is a very troubling combination in light of the fact that the major risk factor for melanoma is exposure to ultraviolet light,” said board-certified dermatologist Thomas E. Rohrer, MD, FAAD, clinical associate professor of dermatology at Brown University School of Medicine. “Men need to examine their skin and see a dermatologist if they spot anything changing, bleeding or growing.

SKIN CANCER PREVENTION—KNOW THE FACTS

  • More than 3.5 million skin cancer cases affecting 2 million people are diagnosed annually.
  • It is estimated that there will be about 131,810 new cases of melanoma in 2012—55,560 noninvasive (in situ) and 76,250 invasive (44,250 men and 32,000 women).
  • Caucasians and men older than 50 are at a higher risk of developing melanoma than the general population.
  • Although before age 40 melanoma incidence rates are higher in women than in men, after age 40 rates are almost twice as high in men as in women.
  • The five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 98 percent. -Parent giving

 

For more information on Home Care please do not hesitate to Call Complete Home Care at 561-408-7760.

Home Care | Denial: A River Of Problems When Alzheimer’s Strikes

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Home Care | Denial: A River Of Problems When Alzheimer’s Strikes

Home Care |  We are all in denial about something at some point in our lives. The dictionary defines denial as “the refusal to admit the truth or reality.” My favorite definition is “the negation of logic.”

I can definitely appreciate someone not wanting to acknowledge a situation or condition. My own grandmother has Alzheimer’s disease. I admit I didn’t “hear” the diagnosis at first because I didn’t want to. I knew what the writing on the wall spelled. My grandfather and uncle were far from admitting it also, so it was up to me to make sure my grandmother received the best medical care possible and fast. Luckily for me, my uncle faced reality pretty quickly—he is a rocket scientist after all (he really is!). My grandfather’s denial, on the other hand, continues to lead to some major problems and almost led to the loss of my grandmother’s life.

What causes denial? Many things: lack of communication, distance, self-preservation, fear of the unknown and uncertainty about the future. Denial, however, leads to the continuation of a downward spiral and makes the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and dementia even more traumatic and difficult to face.

In any community for the elderly, denial is something we deal with on a daily basis. Our goal is to avert a negative situation for a family dealing with the denial process at home and just beginning to consider assisted living or memory care. We also continue to address denial for a resident on the cusp of needing assisted living or memory care. There was a resident at our community recently who was well loved and happy, but was requiring more care and presenting behaviors that were becoming less and less appropriate for an assisted living environment.

Her safety and dignity were our main concerns. I am not a proponent of forcing a move to a different level of care, but if it is necessary, we need to do our best to have the family “buy in” to the move and make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone. If there is no “buy in,” the other alternative is eviction, which is never something I want to have to do. Appropriate placement is critical to proper care. In this particular case, one of the siblings who lived out of town was the one who was able to convey to his local brothers and sisters that what we were saying was true. Because he didn’t interact with his mother on a daily basis, he was able to be more objective and see what we were seeing. Luckily, this family ultimately listened to us, and a move within our community was made. The transition was smooth, and a positive difference was noticed in the resident literally hours after the move.

In the case of a transition to memory care, the environment in our community is a significant aspect of the benefit. Our memory care neighborhood is a smaller, more manageable space that is easier for someone with dementia to navigate. There are also residents in our memory care that used to be in assisted living, so the person moving might see a friendly and familiar face in the memory care neighborhood. This type of situation helps with continuity and adds value in the community.

Denial at its worst can mean the withholding of treatment or necessary care (outside of a residential home care community).  We so want to “hold on” to mom or dad as we know them. We want them to maintain their independence. We believe we know what’s best for them. However, for someone in denial, their loved one doesn’t get the treatment or care they need and deserve. Their condition worsens, and quality time is actually lost. It is almost cruel to force someone to remain in a situation that is difficult for them to live in. It fosters frustration, anger, potential loss of dignity and dangerous situations.

In caring for a loved one, you almost have to force yourself to step out of the situation to be objective. There are reasons doctors are not allowed to care for their own family members. Where loved ones are concerned, no one wants to admit and see the potential problems. When evaluating what your loved one truly needs, listen to the professionals, in particular the ones that you trust and have shown you that they care. At our community, there is no financial benefit for moving someone to our memory care neighborhood, other than the likelihood that I will be able to care for them longer because the resident is placed appropriately. In fact, the cost could potentially go down at some point because the apartments are smaller in the memory care neighborhood, and the need for escorting is reduced (though not eliminated).

The bottom line is, you must try to be open-minded. Trust the professionals. Listen to what others are saying. There is a good chance you may be doing more harm than good by trying to keep things the way they are and living on the shores of denial. Acceptance is never easy, but it is the loving and right thing to do for everyone. –Parent Giving 

 

 

 

For more information on Home Care please do not hesitate to Call Complete Home Care at 561-408-7760.

Home Care | The Basics of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Forms of Dementia

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Home Care | The Basics of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Forms of Dementia

Home Care |  A good way to understand Alzheimer’s disease is to look at dementia.

According to the National Institutes of Health, dementia is a generic term that refers to the symptoms that arise from a variety of brain diseases and disorders. While Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia  (60% to 70% of all demetias), there are more than 100 types of this condition. Dementia impairs more than one domain of cognitive function, which makes it different from brain disorders that affect only one domain such as amnesia (affects memory) and aphasia (affects language skills). It is not loss of memory; rather, it involves the loss of the mind as a whole.

The common characteristic is the loss of brain function that progresses slowly but with increasing severity over time. The usual symptoms are memory loss, confusion, and cognitive difficulties (especially with speech, communication and understanding abilities).

Causes of dementia

Many different ailment can lead to dementia – cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, hypothyroidism, AIDS, vitamin deficiency and poor nutrition, profound depression, Parkinson’s disease, and others. Among the more common causes are:

  • Alzheimer’s disease (AD) – According to the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), “Initially, people experience memory loss and confusion. However, the symptoms of AD gradually lead to behavior and personality changes, a decline in cognitive abilities such as decision-making and language skills, and problems recognizing family and friends. AD ultimately leads to a severe loss of mental function. These losses are related to the worsening breakdown of the connections between certain neurons in the brain and their eventual death. This is the most common cause, as the disease alters the brain’s structure and chemical balance, ultimately leading to the death of brain cells.”
  • Vascular dementia – this second most common cause of dementia arises from inadequate supply of oxygen to the brain cells, usually as the brain’s blood vessels are damaged after a stroke or a series of mild strokes occurring over time.
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease – infectious agents (called prions) invade the central nervous system and eventually attack the brain, causing dementia.
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies – According to the NIH “the central feature of DLB is progressive cognitive decline, combined with three additional defining features: (1) pronounced “fluctuations” in alertness and attention, such as frequent drowsiness, lethargy, lengthy periods of time spent staring into space, or disorganized speech; (2) recurrent visual hallucinations, and (3) parkinsonian motor symptoms, such as rigidity and the loss of spontaneous movement.” Tiny globe-like structures develop in the brain’s nerve cells, eventually causing degeneration of the brain tissues and affecting memory, concentration and language functions.
  • Korsakoff’s syndrome – a brain disorder that results from heavy drinking over an extended period.
  • Fronto-temporal dementia – the frontal lobes of the brain are damaged, leading to significant changes in personality and behavior.
  • AIDS-related cognitive impairment – the AIDS disease may cause brain damage in its later stages, impairing the brain’s cognitive functions.
  • Mild cognitive impairment – a term coined to describe those with memory problems greater than normal for the age but less severe than those associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Prevalence of dementia

Most forms of dementia become more prevalent as people age. The National Institutes of Health estimates that nearly 10% of people over 65 have conditions leading to Alzheimer’s, and nearly half of those over 85 are affected.

Symptoms

The onset of dementia is accompanied by very subtle symptoms and years may pass before symptoms become noticeable. Memory loss, though common, does not always indicate dementia. The areas of the brain responsible for language, reasoning, sensory perceptions, and personality may be affected first – especially in those whose symptoms start earlier than age 65. Apart from memory loss, communication problems (whether talking, writing or reading) and volatile mood changes can also indicate dementia.

“The common characteristic of dementia is the loss of brain function, progressing slowly but increasing in severity over time. The most common observable symptoms are memory loss, confusion and cognitive difficulties (especially with speech, communication and understanding abilities).”

Dementia generally has no cure. Some drugs delay progression of the disease in certain individuals and provide temporary relief from symptoms of certain types of dementia. -parent giving 

 

For more information on Home Care please do not hesitate to Call Complete Home Care at 561-408-7760.

Home Care | Memorial Day Safety Tips

Home Care | Memorial Day Safety Tips

 

Home Care |  The last thing vacationers want to worry about is their homes being burglarized as they head out for their Memorial Day weekend. Plus, many of us will be firing up our grills for cookouts and get-togethers.

Protection 1, the nation’s premier full service security provider, offers the following tips to ensure the safety of your family and home during the holiday weekend and throughout the summer.

 

  • Secure all windows, including those upstairs and reduce the chance of easy entry by cutting tree limbs away from second-story windows.
  • Remove objects that might allow access to your home, such as ladders or trash cans that could be used to enter a window or scale a fence.
  • Do not leave Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or other social media posts letting people know that you will be out of town.
  • Turn your telephone ringer down, so no one outside can hear repeated rings, and review your answering machine message to make sure it does not imply you are away; also, use timers to operate lights.
  • Make sure to have all mail, newspapers and deliveries stopped or picked up by a neighbor, friend or relative.
  • Position the grill at least two feet away from decks, siding and any outdoor equipment that can catch fire quickly such as pool toys and playground sets. Additionally, trim low-hanging branches away from your grilling location.
  • Always keep a portable fire extinguisher nearby. Read the instructions in advance as there will not be time do so in the event of an emergency.
  • Consider having a professionally monitored security system installed that will dispatch the authorities in the event of a break-in. Web-based security systems can even send vacationers email and text-message alerts of security events on their smart phones or laptops, and allow you to check in through video cameras. Also, have a system that includes a 24-hour fire monitoring service that automatically dispatches the fire department if a smoke alarm is triggered. –helpful Memorial Day tips from Protection1

 

 

For more information on Home Care please do not hesitate to Call Complete Home Care at 561-408-7760.