Strategies to Ensure Safe Aging at Home
Most aging individuals prefer to age in their home. This is because home is usually where we feel most comfortable. As a result, older adults want to stay in the safety of their own home even if some experience difficulty with everyday activities, for example, walking up/down stairs or picking up heavy laundry baskets. This desire is considered “aging in place”, where older adults want to adapt themselves and their surroundings to ensure they remain home. But, there is a challenge: How can older adults and their families ensure they can stay in the comfort of their own home while being reassured that they are also safe? Fortunately, there are ways to ease daily activities that become harder for aging individuals over time, allowing them to remain at home. In this blog, we will go over ways you and your aging loved one can adapt and modify daily activities in order to promote safety and security at home.
As we age, our bodies naturally become less able to perform the activities we could when we were younger. For the most part, our bodies become less agile, flexible, and strong, posing potential risks for injury if an accident occurs. Additionally, living with a health condition, like a degenerative neurological disorder, can accelerate this process. Some activities that may be impacted include but are not limited to: driving, eating, getting in and out of bed, dressing, taking a shower, running errands, cleaning the house, financial management, remembering chores, and the list goes on.
Depending on your loved one’s own personal situation, one or more of these may be impacted, leading to the need to modify and adapt your loved one’s living situation.
Aging at Home
Rely on Technology: There are numerous technologies out now that help people achieve their day to day goals. For example, if your loved one is no longer able to drive, then try to see if you can set them up with a drive-booking app. These apps allow you to find a local driver that has been vetted by the company to pick up you or your loved one and transport them to their desired location, removing the need to drive. The only downside is that some more remote areas around the U.S. do not have many drivers.
Another example of how technology can help is the advancement of telemedicine. Medical devices can easily be taken home to track vital signs and wellness. This data can be sent to doctors while the appointment can take place on a computer screen at home. See if these kinds of options exist where you live.
Make the Home Safe: Aging at home means adapting the home. This is vital as some characteristics of a house now become big hazards, like the stairs, wet bathroom floors, etc. You should take time to assess your loved one’s living situation to see how you can make it a safer, more livable space. Things you can do is to declutter the home, install grab bars in showers/bathtubs, install a personal emergency alert system, or put grips in areas that become wet like the bathroom. Every home is different and will need to be modified in different ways.
Find a caregiver: This is often a difficult yet life changing decision. Hiring a caregiver to go to your loved one’s home to provide support and care, requires financial planning and open communication. Not everyone is comfortable committing to hiring a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or another equally qualified individual, since it can cost a lot of money, require a lot of time and energy, and be uncomfortable for your loved one. This is why it is important to at least meet with employees at nurse registries to consider options. This decision can be a huge life saver.
If you have any questions, please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.