Independent living for seniors can be both comfortable and safe with the right precautions.
Everyone wants to feel safe in their own home. For some seniors -- and their caregivers -- that can be a challenge. Not every senior is afforded the luxury of living at home. For those who are able to, accommodations are often necessary to be able to live independently.
Taking steps to ensure that a home is safe and secure for its elderly occupant will not only allow them to live more comfortably, but it will also lend peace of mind to their caregiver.
There are some basic steps that can be taken to minimize potential safety concerns.
Changes around the house
The first step is to address any environmental factors that could be unsafe, whether it be outdated electrical work, uneven floors or poor lighting. Home modifications, either simple or extensive, might be necessary to maintain a home that is both comfortable and safe.
It would be beneficial to consult with an occupational therapist, physical therapist or any other certified aging-in-place specialist and have them perform a home assessment.
Some of the simpler fixes include removing throw rugs, removing wheels from chairs, keeping steps clear or cleaning up general clutter, and being mindful about where you position small and low furniture that could cause someone to trip and fall or impede their mobility.
Calling for help
There may be emergency situations in which your loved one will require assistance. Thus, it is important to consider their means of seeking help. Check to see if there are services in your area that provide a call-assist service or personal emergency response systems.
At the very least, having a phone nearby at all times can make a world of difference.
If your loved one is particularly tech savvy, new devices like the Apple Watch come equipped with a function that enables the wearer to simply hold down a button to either call 911 or alert a friend or family member. Devices like this can also be used to monitor the wearer’s heart rate.
Helping them remember
One of the chief concerns that a caregiver or family member can have is whether or not the person in their charge is remembering to eat or take their medication.
For medication, there are timed pill dispensers available to help seniors manage their daily prescriptions. It would also be beneficial to ensure that all medications are clearly labeled and are stored or organized in a way that won’t confuse an elder.
Timers can also serve as reminders to eat, but a more important step would be to ensure that your loved one has fully-prepared meals in the refrigerator. They’ll perhaps be more inclined to eat regularly if they are not required to go through the work of preparing it themselves.