Many seniors today are electing to “age in place,” that is, to remain in their own homes rather than moving in with family or to an elder care or assisted living facility. While such a decision allows aging individuals to retain some form of independence, it can also present a variety of challenges. It is important to ensure the safety of your senior loved one who chooses to remain in their own home or apartment, especially if they are experiencing reduced mobility, vision, and hearing.
Here are three ways you can provide an added element of safety in their environment:
- Falls, slips, and stumbles are a leading cause of injury to seniors no matter their setting. Even low impact falls can cause devastating physical injury, and such an experience can lead to psychological trauma as well. Fortunately there are many precautions and measures to take that will minimize the likelihood of a fall. These include:
- Install adequate lighting in all of the rooms and living areas of the home and especially in hallways and on stairs. A night light can be used in bathrooms or locations where a senior may find themselves disoriented.
- Install grab-bars in the shower stall or bathtub as well as by the toilet.
- Organize kitchen shelves and pantries so that frequently used items are easily accessible without the need to climb on a stepladder or crouch down to reach into a lower cabinet.
- Remove area rugs or ensure they are slip-proof and secure on floors.
- Seniors often lose their interest in cooking, and meal preparation can become a difficult chore. In these instances, without careful attention and assistance the senior will suffer from malnutrition. You can help avoid this by arranging for a meal kit delivery service to provide nutritious, well-cooked meals while saving a trip to the grocery store and time spent preparing the meal. There are so many options to chose from nowadays, including Hello Fresh, Sun Basket, Plated and many others, which can be customized to any dietary restriction and are not big budget items.
- Social interaction and physical exercise are critical for your senior’s mental and physical wellbeing, and there are many ways to guarantee that your senior enjoys both. There are exercise classes at the local YMCA and at certain gyms tailored to the senior crowd. Social groups at libraries, gardening clubs, and even some meet-ups for seniors are a good way for them to enjoy contact with others. If mobility is an issue, you may wish to hire a home companion who can visit and provide conversation and socialization.
There may come a point when your senior can no longer live on their own. Until then, a few simple modifications to space and routine will keep them safe at home.