How To Safely Age In Place: A Guide For Seniors
Photo via Pixabay by BrenKee
Many seniors live active and healthy lives, maintaining social circles and daily activity with ease as they navigate retirement. At a certain point, however, the question of aging in place comes up, and some seniors fear they aren’t prepared to live in the same environment they’ve been in because of potential safety issues. Stairs, showers, and heating and cooling quickly become a problem for the elderly, so it’s important to assess the environment and make sure it’s a safe place to stay.
Here are some of the most important things to think about for seniors who want to stay in their home.
Because falls are always a concern for seniors, it’s imperative to make sure all walkways and hallways are free of clutter and rugs that might cause a trip. Furniture should be pushed back against the wall to prevent tumbles, as a foot can easily get hooked around a chair or table leg.
Bathrooms are a big safety issue for many seniors. Consider installing a safety bar or shower seat to prevent falls in the bathtub, as well as non-slip rubber mats in the tub and on the floor. Glass shower doors should be replaced with a rod and curtain, and toilet height should also be taken into consideration.
Lighting is often overlooked when preparing a home for aging in place, but it’s a very important part of safety. All walkways should be well lit, especially on any stairways. Nightlights are wonderful additions to any room and can prevent tumbles in the middle of the night. Kitchen lighting should be bright enough to ensure that no accidents will occur at the stove or cutting board.
Cleaning and upkeep
Cleaning can be great exercise, but there may come a time when a senior just isn’t up to it, especially in a large home. Consider hiring a cleaning service to come in and help out once or twice a week. You might also think about having someone come and help with yardwork or gardening, especially in the summer months when the weather is dry and hot. These conditions can lead to fatigue, dehydration, and heat stroke very easily in seniors, so be careful about staying outdoors for long periods of time.
Clothing and shoes contribute greatly to senior safety, even indoors. Sturdy shoes are helpful around the house and can prevent slips and falls, especially if eyesight and balance are an issue. Lightweight, layered clothing is perfect for any season and can help with regulating temperature.
It’s important for many seniors to stay in their home as long as possible, and with a few safety measures, this is possible for most people.