Charlotte, NC, September 03, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- As you age, there are many benefits to staying at home instead of moving to an assisted-living community or a nursing home; you have easy access to your friends and favorite places and, most importantly, you can live your life the way you want to (and let’s not forget about circumventing those steep costs). Your independence is important to you, but living at home also comes with several risk factors. Consider the following habits and home safety tips.
Bathrooms are especially dangerous for people of all ages. 235,000 people each year visit the emergency room due to bathroom falls, but there are several improvements you can make to reduce that risk.
1. Place nonslip mats near the shower or bath, or other slippery areas that might get wet.
2. Install shower bars. Shower bars, which are more resilient than towel bars, offer something secure to grab onto in case you lose your balance, helping prevent injuries. Try replacing your towel bars with shower bars and install one in your shower or bath.
3. For seniors with balance problems, weakness or trouble recovering from a recent surgery or injury, shower chairs allow you to shower alone without worrying that a fall might occur. Shower chairs are available to purchase online or at major retailers like Walmart.
Your eyes' ability to adjust to varying levels of light decreases as you age, so installing good lighting is incredibly important for home safety.
1. Eco-friendly and convenient, occupancy sensors can help reduce your electric bill and protect you from injury. They turn on when movement is detected and turn off after a period of inactivity.
2. Plugging in nightlights along common areas, bedrooms, and hallways will help you navigate your way safely around your home at night.
Living at home as you get older requires you to become accustomed to adding several safety habits into your daily routine. Though it may be hard to remember these habits at first, they are quick and easy to do, and soon they will become second-nature, like all habits do.
1. Change the batteries in your smoke alarm every six months, and test your smoke alarms on a regular basis.
2. Reorganize your things so that items you need are easy to reach. Many falls occur when seniors are reaching for something that is too high or awkward to grab. Keep a ladder and a stable step-up on hand instead of using a chair.
3. Keep your house clean. A clean home is a happy home, and not just because it looks good. Items left on the floor, wires that snake across the floor, and spills that are not promptly wiped up are safety hazards. Rugs left un-vacuumed increase allergies and poor air quality may worsen the symptoms of seniors with respiratory conditions.
4. Label your medicines clearly, and talk often with your doctor about side effects and possible drug interactions. Storing pills in a box that has the name of each day can be helpful. If you have trouble remembering to take your medication, try setting an alarm on your phone, computer, or alarm clock to remind you.
5. Check expiration dates on your food each week to make sure you are not consuming dangerous foods.
6. Wear sturdy, supportive shoes with low heels that will help you retain your balance and reduce strain on your body.
7. Alcohol abuse is common among the elderly. Do not drink alone or in excess.
8. If you have been sitting or lying down for a long time, make sure to get up slowly so that you do not faint or lose your balance.
It is also recommended to have a medical alert system installed in your house and a buddy system, in place, in case of emergency. Companies like Fall Alert offer budget-friendly options for seniors living at home. Tack a friend or family member's contact information on your refrigerator and have their number on speed dial. Lastly, don't forget to keep your home protected from intruders. Keep your windows closed when you are not using them, keep track of how many copies of your keys are made, and have a flashlight and medical aid kit at the ready.
Feel prepared? Then go for it. There's no need to move if you can add healthy habits into your lifestyle and turn your home into a safe, secure, comfortable space.
About Alexandra Thompson
Alexandra Thompson is a freelance writer from Philadelphia with a passion for helping others, whether it be in the form of volunteering at senior homes or caretaking for her father after a debilitating injury. She has experience writing for senior living and Baby Boomer sites and blogs. In her spare time she enjoys reading about latest developments gerontological neuroscience and spoiling her cat, Amadeus.