Thu07242014

Senior Lifestyles

Local caregivers change batteries to keep seniors off ladders

Los Altos residents Chris Wheaton and Tani Holstege-Wheaton, owners of Visiting Angels Homecare and Respite, want Los Altos seniors to stay safe by staying off ladders.

They'll even change a battery at no charge to make it happen.

March 5-16, Wheaton, ladder in hand, will change the batteries in burglar and smoke alarms in seniors' homes around Los Altos.

"We're offering this in conjunction with daylight-saving time (March 10)," Wheaton said. "I'll go house to house and change (the batteries) in smoke and burglar alarms. I'll provide fresh batteries, too."

The charter of Visiting Angels is to keep elderly and disabled adults in the comfort and safety of their own homes, Holstege-Wheaton said.

"Anyone can call us and we'll do this free of charge," she said. "It's a community service for Los Altos."

Visiting Angels, headquartered in Havertown, Pa., is a national franchisor of at-home, assisted-living services for seniors. It supports seniors able to live at home but who need assistance with everything from running errands to 24-hour nursing care. One of the services they provide is fall prevention.

Among older adults, falls are a serious public health problem, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"Among people 65 and older, unintentional falls account for 87 percent of all fractures treated in emergency departments and are the second-leading cause of spinal cord and brain injuries," according to a 2000 CDC report.

"One of every three persons over age 65 falls each year, and two-thirds of those who fall do so again within six months," the report said.

For seniors who live at home, one of the keys to maintaining independence is fall prevention, said Holstege-Wheaton.

"Elderly people don't change their smoke alarms," Holstege-Wheaton said. "It's a low priority for them. And the last thing we want is to see them on ladders."

For more information, call Visiting Angels, (408) 735-0977 or visit www.carebyangels.com.

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