Aging and Living at Home Safely
March 18, 2016
There are certainly many nice retirement homes available as the senior population continues to grow in this country, but the fact of the matter is that most aging folks prefer to stay in their homes for as long as possible. The AARP reports, in fact, that a full 75 percent of seniors want to stay in their current residences as long as possible. Not only is it a matter of comfort, but it might be more sensible from an economic standpoint. Assisted-living facility fees can be quite high, particularly in larger metropolitan areas.
But as we age, our bodies become more fragile and living at home can become more difficult as the years go on. The risk of injury can increase in people who are already having a tougher time getting around. It is worth noting here that the CDC reports falling is the dealing cause of death among adults who are age 65 and older. One of the most important items an elderly person can have in their home is a medical alert system
All that said, there are ways to make aging in the comfort of one's own home safer, and here are some ideas:
• Ensure that smoke alarms are installed on every floor and outside of every bedroom. Be sure to check batteries at least twice per year.
• Ensure a carbon monoxide detector is installed in the home.
• Keep fire extinguishers handy, particularly in the kitchen near the stove and oven.
• Keep stairways, porches, and outside walkways well-lit.
• Have easily accessible fire-escape routes planned ahead of time.
• Remove potential hazards around the house, including anything that can cause tripping. Rugs or loose carpeting are two culprits. Raised doorway thresholds are another possible danger. Electrical cords and other clutter should also be eliminated.
• Install bathroom grab handles where needed, such as in the shower/tub area and near sinks and toilets.
• Use nonskid mats both in and out of the shower.
• Consider a shower chair or bath benches.
• Move things to lower shelves so they can be easily reached.
• Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes that fit well, and avoid stocking feet on smooth, potentially slippery floors.
• Consider using medical alert systems
Many of these items are quite simple and inexpensive to implement. And if they keep an elderly person in his or her home comfortably and safely, they are well worth it.