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Safety for Seniors: How to Help Your Loved One Age in Place
As we get older, it becomes more and more important to prevent falls and other injuries at home. No matter how well you take care of your body, there may still be safety issues in your house resulting from clutter, slip hazards, or stairs that need to be addressed. This is why it’s so important that you or your loved one take steps to go through your home and make sure it’s a safe place that meets all their needs. Not only will this give you peace of mind when it comes to preventing injury, but it will also allow them to stay in their home as long as possible after retirement rather than creating a need for a nursing home or assisted living facility.
Create a plan that will make the process as easy and stress-free as possible. Think about home modifications, such as adding a ramp or chair lift, replacing the bathtub with a walk-in shower, or widening the doorways to allow for mobility equipment. Those jobs that require a contractor will need some careful planning, including working out a budget and timeline, so give yourself plenty of time to prepare and find the right help. It’s also imperative that you don’t make any big changes without talking to your loved one first.
Safety for seniors begins at home. Here are a few tips on how to ensure that your senior loved one is able to remain safe and comfortable for years to come.
Add Some Lighting
Because falls are one of the most common causes of injury for seniors — and because up to 60 percent of falls occur in the home — it’s imperative that you do everything possible to prevent accidents. Think about what might be necessary for every room: grab bars and non-slip rubber mats in the bathroom, removal of clutter in the living room, and great lighting all around. In fact, lighting should remain consistent throughout the home since it can be an issue for seniors who have low vision. Add lighting to areas such as stairways, closets, and hallways to help your loved one navigate their home more easily.
Help Your Loved One Make Positive Life Changes
A senior’s health and well-being play a big role in both their current and future safety, so help them make positive life changes such as eating better, exercising every day, and working on their cognitive skills by doing puzzles, playing games, and staying social. These changes may be big or small, but their impact will be huge if done right. Talk to your loved one about their needs — they may want to boost their iron intake, for instance, or improve their balance with certain exercises — and help them get started by taking small steps.
Clean It Up
Cleaning up your loved one’s home is important, as clutter can contribute to falls and deteriorate mental health conditions. Help them clean and get rid of things they no longer need or want by donating to local charities or putting items in storage to free up some room in their home. Help them keep things clean and neat by adding storage solutions to each room to make things easier.
Downsizing a home can be a big job, but it can also be a huge relief for seniors who need to tighten their budget or make complicated changes to their current home. Rather than spending money on expensive modifications, it may be easier for your loved one to move into a smaller home that meets their needs. This way, they can also save money each month while staying safe.
Safety for seniors can mean a lot of things, but when it comes to aging in place, it also means making sure both their surroundings and their mental and physical health are in great shape — and stay that way. Keep communication open to help them understand what needs to happen to keep them safe and in their own home, and get help from friends or family members if you need it; after all, caregiving can often be a very difficult job.