Have you heard about the “Tide Pod Challenge?” It’s one of those challenges that goes viral on social media.
Except, unlike the Ice Bucket Challenge that helped raise money for Lou Gehrig’s disease, this one is downright dangerous. Young people are filming themselves placing Tide laundry detergent pods in their mouths and biting down on them. They then either spit out the released detergent or swallow it. Unfortunately, the chemicals in the pods are poisonous and can cause serious health problems, even death. Children who have mistaken the pods for candy have died from putting them in their mouths, and you’ve probably heard about that on the news, too. What you may not know is that laundry pods are also a safety risk for seniors with dementia.
The Dangers of Detergent Pods
A June 2017 Consumer Reports articles state that six older adults with dementia died between 2012 and 2017 from ingesting laundry detergent pods. The number may not seem high, but for the families of people who have lost a loved one in such a senseless and preventable way, it’s far too high.
The packets attract the attention of some dementia patients because they are brightly colored. They’re also soft and squishy. Like children, older adults with dementia may mistake them for candy. Adults with a certain type of dementia are particularly prone to placing things in their mouths. When a pod is placed in the mouth, the outer membrane rapidly dissolves, sometimes even exploding.
Keeping Dementia Patients Safe
The best way to keep a senior with dementia safe from the dangers of detergent pods is to not have them in the house. However, if you like the convenience of the pods and want to keep using them, keep them in a securely locked cupboard.
Detergent pods are not the only household danger to a person with dementia. Other household chemicals and even small appliances that can be handled incorrectly pose dangers as well. In addition, some dementia patients wander, which can lead to them getting lost or injured. Keeping a senior with dementia safe can be a full-time job for a family caregiver, but a professional elder care provider can help. Elder care providers can keep an eye on your aging family member to make certain they don’t engage in unsafe activities. Elder care providers can also make sure that the person eats well, which might prevent them from looking for things to eat on their own.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elder Care in Fullerton, CA, contact the caring staff at No Place Like Home Homecare today at 951-382-5266.