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Now, more than ever, seniors are able to age in the comfort of their own home. As people age, cognitive function begins to decline and the loss of mobility makes everyday tasks become more of an obstacle. While not all older adults are able to live independently, it’s entirely possible for many seniors to age in place with the right safety precautions.
If you’re elderly and living on your own, or caring for a senior still at home, simple changes can be implemented to help ensure safety on a day to day basis. Here are some of the top senior home care tips so older adults can safely stay at home as they age.
Seniors are more at risk of falling due to a loss of balance and limited mobility. According to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among adults that are aged 65 and older. In fact, around $50 billion is spent on medical costs associated with nonfatal falls and $754 million is spent on fatal falls each year.
In order to minimize the risk of falling, there are steps that can be taken to remove tripping hazards from the home. First, make sure to remove any clutter around walkways and stairs, such as electrical chords. If there are slippery floors, put non-skid flooring throughout the house and wear non-slip footwear like thin-soled shoes or slippers with a rubber bottom. If there are rugs, ensure that the edges are secured and always use handrails where you can. Additionally, always have a cane or walker nearby that can be used for extra support.
Exercise can also help reduce the risk of falling by strengthening the legs and increasing flexibility. Try a sit-to-stand exercise to improve body mechanics and leg strengthening, and tai chi to improve balance. Make sure to always consult a doctor before exercising and never over exert yourself.
The bathroom can be one of the most risky rooms in a senior’s home. In order to make sure the bathroom is easily accessible and fall or burn proof, it’s advisable to install grab bars in the shower, bathtub and beside the toilet. Place rubber mats in the bathtub to prevent slipping, as well as a bathing chair that will fit in the tub and shower. Consider swapping the old toilet seat for a raised seat that is between 17 and 19 inches in height and replacing the original bathtub with a walk-in model. Lastly, to prevent accidental burns, set your water heater to no more than 120 degrees fahrenheit.
An easy way to manage medications is to divide them up in a pill organizer labeled with the days of the week. This guarantees that all the medications that are needed for the day will be taken on time and won’t be skipped. Ask the pharmacist to place large-print labels on your medication bottles to make them easier to read and note the side effects of each of the medications in case they cause drowsiness or dizziness, which can also lead to falls.
Anyone managing a loved one’s medications should also keep a list of medications, allergies and important personal information within arm’s reach in case of a medical emergency. Place one list in a purse or wallet for when you’re on the go and one that’s visible in your home, like your refrigerator, for easy access. These lists will provide emergency responders with potentially lifesaving information.
Last, but not least, think about investing in a medical alert system. Medical alert systems are specifically designed with seniors in mind and can help with medication alerts and fall detection. Rest assured that should anything happen you will be automatically directed to emergency services.
If you’re a senior aging at home, or your aging loved one is living independently, senior safety should be a top priority. Regularly check in with your loved ones to make sure they are doing well. That extra care and support goes a long way. It’s important for seniors to feel connected so they don’t isolate themselves.
If you’re unable to regularly check-in, it may be beneficial to have an expert caregiver who is trained for in-home senior care to help look after your loved one. Professional caregivers can make sure seniors are safe and able to thrive as they live independently. Getting help with these routine tasks can make a senior’s home safer, their life easier and provide them with companionship that will make their life more enjoyable overall.
Fedelta is your go-to resource for in-home caregivers. Make sure to reach out to one of our experts to get your free consultation today.