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Help in case of emergency

Gerard Scully | Senior Information Officer | Age Action
Written by: Gerry Scully
Senior Information Officer
17/02/2017

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Gerry provides some advice about how to be safe at home and get help in an emergency in his latest blog.

Senior Information Officer Gerry Scully

Question

Dear Age Action,

My daughter and her husband have just moved out and into a new home together. They’re not far away but I still get a little nervous at night on my own. Would I be able to get an alarm for myself?

Catherine, Monaghan.

Answer

Personal alarms are one of the best ways to seek help in an emergency. They can be worn around the neck or on the wrist or even around one’s waist attached to a belt but they don’t work if left in a drawer.

These alarms work as an intercom installed onto the landline of the older person so you do need to have a landline phone.

The way a monitored personal alarm works is that when you press the button it activates an intercom with a monitoring centre. The centre will ask the older person why the alarm has been activated and if everything is ok. It may have been activated by accident or the older person may have been testing the system. 

Key-holders

If the alarm has been activated and the monitoring centre cannot get a response the staff will have a list of key-holders who can visit the older person to see what is wrong. If they cannot contact a key-holder (or if the older person responds by saying they need help) they will contact the emergency services.

These systems generally cost about €250 plus an annual monitoring fee of about €80 to €100. There is a grant (the Senior Alert Scheme) that covers 95 to 100 per cent of the cost of installation but it does not cover the annual monitoring fee.

The grant is paid by POBAL to local community groups who will help you fill out the application form. However, they tend to process applications in batches so some people choose to get an alarm privately because of possible delays.

You can get the details of your local community group on the POBAL website, www.pobal.ie or you can contact the Age Action Information Service at 01 475 6989 or helpline@ageaction.ie. We also have a list of commercial companies if you choose to go privately.

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Top tips for staying cool

  • Keep out of the heat. Stay inside during the hottest time of the day – late morning to mid-afternoon. If you do go out, wear a hat and keep to the shade as much as possible. It’s very important to use sun screen of at least factor 15.
  • If you are travelling by car or public transport always take a bottle of water.
  • Avoid strenuous activity and limit activities like housework and gardening to the early morning or evening when it’s cooler.
  • When inside, try to stay in the coolest parts of your home. Keep curtains and blinds closed in rooms that catch the sun. Remember that lights generate heat. Keep windows shut while it’s cooler inside than out and open them when it gets hotter inside. If it’s safe, you could leave a window open at night when it’s cooler. Fans can help sweat evaporate but do not cool the air itself.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-coloured cotton clothing.
  • Take cool baths or showers.
  • Splash your face with cold water or place a damp cloth or scarf on the back of your neck to help you cool off.
  • Drink lots of fluid – even if you’re not thirsty. Limit drinks with caffeine (like coffee and cola) and avoid alcohol as it can increase dehydration.
  • Eat normally but try to have more cold foods, particularly salads and fruit as they contain a lot of water.

Dehydration and overheating

Extreme heat and humidity can cause you to dehydrate and your body to overheat. Watch out for certain signs: particularly for muscle cramps in your arms, legs or stomach, mild confusion, weakness or sleep problems. If you have any of these, rest in a cool place and drink plenty of fluids. Seek medical advice if your symptoms persist or worsen.

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke

The symptoms of heat exhaustion include headaches, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, pale skin, heavy sweating and a high temperature.

If you have any of these symptoms you must:

  • find a cool place and loosen tight clothes
  • drink plenty of water or fruit juice
  • sponge yourself with cold water or have a cool shower.

If you’re having difficulty, or your symptoms persist for several hours, seek medical advice. Heatstroke can develop if heat exhaustion is left untreated - but it can also develop suddenly and without warning. The symptoms of heatstroke include hot and red skin, headaches, nausea, intense thirst, raised temperature, confusion, aggression and loss of consciousness. Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition.

So if you or someone else shows symptoms:

  • call 999 immediately or 112 if you are in the European Union (you can call 112 from a mobile for free). If you have a community or personal alarm press the button on your pendant to call for help.
  • while waiting for the ambulance, follow the advice given above for heat exhaustion but do not try to give fluids to anyone who is unconscious.

Further information

If you live alone consider asking a relative or friend to visit or phone to check that you are not having difficulties during periods of extreme heat.

  • If you know a neighbour who lives alone, check they are ok.
  •  Check for weather forecasts and temperature warnings on TV and radio, and online at  https://www.met.ie/warnings
  • If you have breathing problems or a heart condition your symptoms might get worse when it’s very hot.
  • For further advice about heat-related illness contact your GP.

Summer Raffle Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our Summer Raffle. We're so grateful to everyone who participated and who raised more than 18,000 euro to support older people in Ireland.

This year's winners were:

1st Prize winner €1,500

S Deegan, Dublin

2nd Prize winner €1,000

A Parks, Dublin

3rd Prize winner €500

M Dangerfield, Dublin

And the winner of our Sellers Prize was:

Sellers Prize €100

M Kane, Galway, €100

Thank you to all who supported the raffle, this is one of our biggest and most reliable fundraisers, so your support makes all the difference.

 


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Help in case of emergency | Age Action

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