LETTER: These tips will improve safety for seniors who live alone

Letter to the editor

In 2015, the Institute for Senior Professionals at Northwest Florida State College published a study and a tri-fold describing what seniors living alone can do to enhance their safety. We also spread the word through a letter to the editor. It is time to do that again.

First, we recommend putting your medical information including current health issues. medications, past surgeries, physicians’ names and numbers and emergency contacts on a paper in an envelope taped to your refrigerator. First responders are trained to look for it there. Carry a copy of this information in your wallet or purse and car.

Next, install a lockbox containing your house key on the frame of your front door. Give the combination to the lockbox to your 911 office.

In Okaloosa County, call 850-689-5606. In North Walton County, call 850-892-8111, and in South Walton County, call 850-267-0167. They will store and provide it by secure transmission to first responders when responding to a 911 call from your home.

Finally, procure and wear a small wireless fall detecting medical alert device on a lanyard around your neck. Some smartphones and watches have fall detecting apps, but few of us carry our phones at all times, especially in the fall prone bathtub or shower.

This will provide 24/7 protection except when you place it in its charger at night. But even then, if I get up at night, I just slip the lanyard around my neck. For more information go to https://www.nwfsc.edu/about/partners/isp/ for the study and trifold including examples of the medical data card, lockboxes and fall detecting devices.

— Don Litke, Niceville

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