Contrary to some beliefs, America’s seniors are a diverse group. But no matter where they live, how they worship or who they vote for, America’s senior citizens tend to have one thing in common: they like the idea of aging in place. The senior safety tips below will help make that possible.
In other words, they want to remain in their home as they get older.
Yet this is often easier said than done. There are several factors that can determine whether you or your loved ones are able to remain at home versus having to move in with another family member or into a long-term care facility.
The experts at Care.com offer this aging in place checklist.
1. What’s your family like?
Do you have friends and relatives that live nearby and are available to pitch in? That can mean things like help with errands and household chores, but it can also mean just stopping in for a visit.
Isolation can lead to serious problems for seniors, including depression and malnutrition. You can help your loved one avoid this issue by encouraging them to cultivate new friendships and revisit old ones.
2. What is their temperament like?
Are your parents social? Do they enjoy living alone? Are they still self-sufficient? Or are they more likely to isolate themselves?
Care.com’s Jody Gastfriend pointed to a case where a client found it less intrusive to move to an assisted living center than to have strangers in her home. She still had her own quarters and access to care, but could live independently.
3. What’s the house like?
No aging in place checklist of senior safety tips is complete without a review of the home’s safety and comfort. Here’s what you should consider:
- Lighting – Falls are the number one cause of injuries for senior citizens. People need to be able to see to prevent trip hazards.
- Doorways and hallways – Make sure doors and hallways are wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs. You may need to replace steps at the home’s entryway with a ramp, and modify thresholds that aren’t flush with the floor.
- Floors – Area rugs, slippery floors and thick carpeting can all present trip hazards.
- Stairs/living on one level – Again, these can present a fall hazard. The less time they spend going up and down the steps, the better. Stair lifts or the ability to live on one floor can help.
- Bathrooms – As people get older, they may need to have their bathrooms modified to include things such as roll-in showers and grab bars. Glass shower doors, slippery floors and high counters are all concerns to be noted.
- Clutter – A clean home is a safer home. If you or your parent has things like magazines or old newspapers blocking their paths, they need to be cleared away. Excess furniture and delicate knick-knacks can also be cleared out.
Finally, think about what kind of maintenance the house might need. The older a home is, the more upkeep it might require. And while your mom or dad might be able to do things like vacuuming and laundry, ask yourself if they’re able to tackle cleaning the gutters or landscaping.
4. What’s the community like?
After you’ve considered your family and the house, look at the surrounding community. Some things to think about include access to resources such as a local senior center, transportation services, health care and whether the surroundings are safe.
For some seniors, aging in place means living on one floor, but this isn’t always practical. That’s where a stair lift can come in handy.
It’s an ideal way of making you or your loved ones safer at home while allowing you to avoid major renovations such as adding a bathroom or turning a downstairs room into a bedroom.
We hope these senior safety tips are helpful. If you’re thinking a stair lift is right for your home or your loved one’s home, contact Pennsylvania Stair Lifts today. We look forward to helping you make life safer and easier for you and your family.