Staying Safe and Healthy While Aging at Home

Staying on top of your health is much more than getting care when you don't feel good. See your doctor for regular checkups.
Staying Safe and Healthy While Aging at Home
Secrets to Healthy Aging. Image/Shutterstock

Today, many seniors have the goal of aging in place in their homes instead of moving to a group living situation. While it is possible to make your home safer, it will take a few additional steps to reduce the risks of falls while ensuring your independence. These steps can help you stay in your home for as long as possible.

#1 Installing a Home Lift

As you get older, it becomes harder to navigate stairs, and if you live in a multi-level home, you will need some way of traveling between floors. The stairs can present a hazard if you are unsteady on your feet, so you might want to consider installing a home lift instead. A domestic lifts healthcare business can help you choose the right option to work with your house.

#2 General Safety

Take a look around for potential trip hazards, including area rugs, small tables, and other items near walkways. If you have a pet, it is best to keep their toys put away, and try to keep an eye out for them as you move around. In the bathroom, you can install grab bars around the shower and toilet. Many falls occur in this room, especially since the floor can be wet and slippery. You or a loved one can find grab bars at the hardware store and install them relatively easily. Adding a shower stool can help you bathe yourself more easily. It’s also a good idea to ensure you can cross the thresholds relatively easily. If the areas between rooms are raised, you might want to have that modified so it does not present as great a risk for falling.

#3 Take Advantage of Tech

Using smart devices is a great way to get accustomed to a tech if you have not used it much before. Even if you don’t want to turn your home into a high-tech area, you can still use devices to make emergency calls, remind yourself to take medication, and use entertainment. And you could consider using a GPS tracking device as well. These tools are a great way to let caregivers know where you are at all times. For seniors who tend to wander, a GPS device could be a lifesaver.

#4 Preventing Falls

There are plenty of reasons older people fall more easily, but there are some things you can do to prevent them. Below are a few common reasons older people fall, and how to mitigate them:

  • Extreme temperatures – Extreme temperatures can cause both dehydration and dizziness leading up to a tumble. During warm days, it is best for seniors to stay inside during the hottest part of the day and keep the home at a comfortable temperature. Even cold temperatures can lead to dizziness, so it is best to keep the interior relatively warm.
  • Unfamiliar environments – These can also cause falls, especially during the night when you expect certain things to be in the same location. So, if you are redesigning the home, try to keep it as close to the original as possible. Try not to move the furniture around if possible.
  • Medications – If you are on a medication regime be sure that you understand all the potential side effects. Lightheadedness or dizzy spells can all lead to an eventual fall. Additionally, if you are placed on a medication that is new to you, be sure that you begin taking it under a doctor’s care and that those that assist you to know of this new element to your care plan.
  • Surgical procedures – Even if you have a surgical procedure done that does not seemingly relate directly to balance or mobility you still need to watch yourself. The strain that surgery can put on your body can manifest itself in bouts of weakness that impact how well you can get yourself around. Do not try to do too much too soon and do not fight offers to help you get around following a surgical procedure.
  • A decline in physical fitness – As you age you should expect your body to not be able to perform in the same ways that it did decades ago. Even the most in-shape seniors should understand that things like decreases in bone density and muscle mass are just part of the program. According to (Do, 2021) hip fractures are a leading cause of hospitalizations among adults aged 65 and older. Having said that you can slow this process down by having a regular fitness routine that makes sense for you and by incorporating specific foods into your diet that support strength from within.

Conclusion

It is incredibly common to have questions, fears, and anxieties surrounding getting older. In fact, the subject can feel so uncomfortable to people that they avoid it together, but that is doing yourself a major disservice. The truth is, that growing older is a privilege and certainly better than the alternative. The more that you discuss your concerns with your chosen circle of support the easier the process will be for you because you will have had time to prepare your mind, body, and surroundings. Reframe the narrative for yourself and focus on how you can make these years some of the best of your life.

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Lauren Ann, MS

Lauren has dual graduate degrees in Clinical Psychotherapy and Nutrition, espousing an integrative approach to optimizing overall healt

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