Ask seniors how they would like to spend their golden years, and the answer you’ll hear most often is: “at home.” According to a 2018 AARP survey, 76% of individuals age 50 and older would prefer to stay in their homes or communities as they age. In order to make that happen, however, they may have to take a look around at their living situation and start making some serious plans.
“Home is where we feel most comfortable, so it’s no surprise that most of us would like to age in place where we are right now,” says Allison Hicks, Community Liaison of Bluegrass Senior Living. “Unfortunately, as we get older, our homes as they are may not be the safest place for us, making it a tricky situation. However, there are many things that seniors can do in order to stay independent, safe and happy in their homes for as long as possible.”
Read on to discover the top things you can do to keep you or a senior loved one safe at home.
Tip #1: Make Mobility a Priority
Getting around the house safely is one of the biggest challenges for seniors as we age. Here are a few ideas of how to make a home more mobility-friendly:
- Place sturdy benches or stools where they will be most helpful, such as by entryway and exit doors, at the kitchen counter, etc.
- Make walkways as clutter-free as possible by removing trippable objects and slippery rugs.
- Wear sturdy shoes at all times to help improve traction.
- Consider installing grab bars in needed areas, such as long hallways or stairways.
Tip #2: Bolster the Bathroom
The CDC reports that approximately 235,000 people per year visit the emergency room due to bathroom-related injuries. Most of these happen in a bathtub or shower, with the toilet following as a close second. To avoid becoming one of these statistics, seniors should devote some resources to making the bathroom as safe as possible. Some suggestions include:
- Install grab bars around toilets and showers.
- Install a senior-friendly shower, like a walk-in tub or stand-up shower.
- Use rubber non-slip mats in areas where water could pool, like inside and outside of the shower and in front of the sink.
- Purchase stools for use in the tub or shower.
Tip #3: Lighten Up
Seniors who aren’t able to see their environment clearly are more at risk of tripping or having a serious accident. Make sure the home is well-lit and install extra lights if necessary. To make navigating at nighttime a little easier, install glow-in-the-dark light-switches, nightlights or dim walkway lights (think of what you see at the theater), or place motion sensor lights so that no one needs to struggle to find the switch.
Tip #4: Make Getting Help Easy
Accidents can happen no matter how safe we are. Consider investing in an emergency response system or a call-assist service, which gives you a wearable device that you can push in the event of an emergency to call for help.
Tip #5: Invest in Technology
It is truly an age of wonder when it comes to tech devices that have been designed for senior safety. These days, you can use tech in just about every aspect of life, from dispensing medication, health monitoring and a whole lot more. Many of these devices can be accessed via Bluetooth or the Internet right from your phone, tablet or computer.
Tip #6: Make the Outdoors Accessible
As you’re making the inside of your home safe, don’t forget about the outside as well. Many falls take place on driveways, sidewalks and entranceways, so be sure that these areas are in good shape and free of any hazards that could trip you up (literally and figuratively). Check for cracks or unstable spots and have them repaired seasonally. If you have a deck or porch you use, lay down non-slip mats or grips so that your footing is secure in less-than-sunny weather.
Tip #7: Exercise Regularly
Keeping yourself strong and healthy through regular exercise can help you avoid falls, stay mobile and increase your independence. Be sure to get the recommended 150 minutes per week of aerobic activity, such as walking, jogging, gardening, playing a sport or doing a group exercise like yoga or tai chi. You’ll also want to focus on strength training to build muscle tone. Finally, be sure your exercise routine includes some balance training, which can help you keep an even footing and avoid falls.
Aging in place is ideal for many seniors because it means independence and a sense of normalcy. By using these safety tips, you can transform your home to make it safe for your changing needs, giving you the independence you desire while keeping you in a comfortable, familiar place.
“While these suggestions can help you extend the time you remain in your home, it’s possible that at some point you will need more care than you can get at home,” says Allison. “In that case, a personal care community like Bluegrass Senior Living may be a smart choice to ensure safety and well-being for you or a loved one. Our community is designed to provide support that empowers our residents so they can enjoy independence and freedom while receiving the care they require.”
For more information about Bluegrass Senior Living, please contact us at 859-474-7856.
Big on Commitment. Big on Community.
Ever since its founding, Kentucky Farm Bureau has served as the "Voice of Kentucky Agriculture," representing the interests of agricultural producers and rural communities and being an effective advocate for its members. When the organization discovered a severe lack of affordable, quality senior care available in the state, they acted – and thus, the vision Bluegrass Senior Living was born.
Bluegrass Senior Living, coming soon to Somerset, is the culmination of three years of planning by KFB and its partners. Bluegrass Senior Living aims to empower residents with the right amount of support, free from the concerns of home upkeep and chores. Instead, residents can enjoy the social benefits of community living with the benefit of top-notch amenities and programs to ensure their future happiness.
Our Somerset location will be the first of several planned communities across the state that will provide Kentucky families with quality senior living options inspired by the familiar traditions and values on which our community thrives.
For more information, please call 859-474-7856.