Give seniors gifts to promote safety

Posted Dec. 17, 2013, at 8:35 a.m.

The hustle and bustle and ribbons and bows, not to mention the traffic, are enough to take the wind out of your holiday sails.

And then there is the pressure of finding just the right gift. With that in mind, how does a potentially life-saving gift sound? The Penobscot County Area Triad has just the thing.

The File of Life is a 4-inch by 3-inch plastic pocket that contains a senior’s pertinent medical information and emergency contacts and has a magnetic strip on the back to hold it in place on the refrigerator.

The File of Life speaks for you if you cannot speak for yourself. For instance, if someone has had a stroke and can’t answer EMT’s questions it can be life-threatening. The File of Life makes a difference. It gives the responding medical personnel information that they otherwise might not have access to if the patient is unresponsive. Some EMTs have reported pulling the File of LIfe off the refrigerator and taking it to the hospital with the patient.

The File of Life is a great stocking stuffer. It is also a great way to connect with aging parents about health issues because you can all sit down together and fill out the File of Life information card. The File of Life is available at Eastern Area Agency on Aging.

Now that your personal information is easy to find, how about your house? Is it easily located, even in the dark?

Triad has that covered too.

“Penobscot County jail inmates are making the 6-inch by 8-inch house number signs of highly reflective materials which meet the 911 standards,” said Glenn Ross, Penobscot County Sheriff and Triad vice president. “The signs have a strong aluminum backing and can be placed on the house itself or on a steel stake which will be positioned at the end of the driveway.  Being reflective, these signs are very visible at night.”

The deluxe package, which includes two single-sided signs, attached to a post, is $12, a one single-sided, attached to a post is $9 and the third option is a single-sided sign without the post for $6, which can be bolted directly to the house.

When seconds count, the File of Life and a good reflective house number can literally mean the difference between life and death.

“What better Christmas present to an elderly parent, friend or even yourself than to give this potentially lifesaving home identification? It is an inexpensive way to help ensure the safety of our seniors,” said Ross. Inexpensive yes, but the peace of mind is priceless.

For information on the 911 House Numbering Project, contact your town office or EAAA.

And finally, as you have safety focused gifts on your mind, think about a reflective vest. Eastern Area Agency on Aging’s Vest Dressed for Safety program makes reflective vests available to senior citizens to increase their visibility. The vests are lightweight, orange mesh with front and back panels held together by elastic strips. The front panels fasten together with Velcro which is helpful for arthritic hands. The vests come in sizes small through 3X. We ask for a $10 donation to help cover our costs.

May you and your family have a safe and happy holiday season.

Carol Higgins is director of community education at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. For information, call 941-2865, toll-free 800-432-7812 or go to eaaa.org.

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