Many seniors entering their golden years prefer to age in the comfort of their own homes rather than move to assisted living or nursing facilities. Aging in place allows them to maintain their independence and they prefer to stay within familiar places. However, there’s a risk of falls due to age, health conditions, and home environment. According to the National Institute on Aging, thousands of older adults experience breaking a bone from a bad fall each year. It is important for them to have the support they need to safely age in place. Let’s check some helpful tips for seniors that enable them to live with independence, and how they can continue to safely and comfortably live at home.
Home Safety Check – It’s important to regularly check for any potential safety hazard. Check any loose rugs and cables that may cause tripping. Make sure there is proper lighting in the areas of the homes, especially walkways and staircases and if the aging individual is at high risk from falls due to certain health conditions, assess what medical tools and equipment they can use at home to help them move around their home. When doing a home safety check you want to make sure that the house is a safe and accessible place for aging individuals to live in.
Home Modification – Consider modifying the living space especially if the aging individual is at high risk of falls due to a certain health condition. If going up and down the staircase is not safe, modify your home to make room for them downstairs, or add handrails on the stairs or a wheelchair lift may be your best option.
Modify kitchen countertops and cabinetry if it’s too high for them to reach, widen doorways to accommodate mobility aids like wheelchairs, and add a ramp. Replace the bathtub with a walk-in shower or walk-in bathtub which will provide much easier and safer entry and exit when bathing. Add grab bars as additional support when moving around the bathroom to prevent slipping on wet floors. If the floor presents trouble or any concerns, consider modifying it as well.
Smart Home Technology – Explore investing in smart home devices that will boost their independence such as smart doorbells and smart lighting. Voice-controlled assistance like Amazon Echo or Google Home lets you control compatible devices at home.
Another useful device would be a personal monitoring device that can help keep track of activity levels, how much sleep a person is getting, their water intake, and more health-related functions.
Medical Alert System – is probably one of the most valuable tools for a person aging in place because it connects you to help when you have any medical emergency at home. There are devices available for in-home medical alert systems, unmonitored or monitored which may also include a wearable device and a base unit, and some have wall-mounted options.
Maintain Regular Health Check – It is important for an aging individual to visit a healthcare professional regularly to monitor their overall health and manage any chronic conditions. It is also important to let the physician know if certain medication(s) are making them dizzy or if their eyesight is getting worse to avoid any accidental falls.
Comfortability – Aside from making sure they are safe, it is also important for them to feel comfortable at home. Assess if there is any need to change to more comfortable and supportive mattresses, pillows, adjustable beds, or chairs for better sleep and relaxation. It’s important when making certain changes that the person is comfortable and happy with the home modification, changes, or upgrades at home.
Seek Community Support – Loneliness and social isolation are typical in the aging population. Encourage seniors to stay engaged in their community. Check for any senior centers, community centers, or club that off ers social activities and class exercises. Choose a support group tailored to their interest, engaging with others fosters a sense of belonging and improves overall physical and mental well-being.
Home Care Services – makes it easier for seniors to live independently by having another person help them with their daily tasks. As they get older, it is harder for them to prepare meals, clean the house, wash the laundry and dishes, grocery shopping, drive to doctor’s appointments, pick up prescription meds, and so on. Home care services will be able to help them with these activities.
Home Care will reduce the chance of injuries from falls because seniors will have a single-point person to assist them when moving around the home. We also help assess the home environment and we usually suggest home modification when it is needed.
Home care can help maintain good health; make sure seniors consistently take their medication(s) on schedule, eat the proper diet, assist them with basic exercise, and even help them with personal care such as bathing, grooming, and dressing if a person is bedbound or has other health condition that prevents them from doing their hygiene care.
Aging in place may present many challenges for seniors and their loved ones may constantly worry for them but doing a home safety check regularly, maintaining regular health checks, planning for home modification, and home care services will help them safely and comfortably age in place and minimize the worry for their families.