Ensure Safety and Independence: A Guide to Aging in Place for Seniors | Home Safety Tips
Today I want to talk about keeping seniors safe in the home, also called “aging in place.” As we all get older, we want to stay in our homes and live independently instead of going to an assisted living facility. I wanted to give you some tips and suggestions on how you can make your home safe to stay living there as long as possible.
Common Issues Within The Senior Home
Some common issues I hear about during the day as a physical therapy are:
Not being able to get up & down stairs.
Having difficulty getting in & out of the bathtub.
Difficulty getting on & off the toilet.
Falling/tripping in the home.
Not being able to open up jars & bottles.
The good news is there are a lot of different ways that we can help with these things. First, one safety tip I have for around the home is to pick up any loose rugs. We do not want anything loose on the floor where it can become a tripping hazard resulting in a fall. Picking up all loose area rugs, clutter, pets, etc. can help to prevent falling in the home.
Another common thing that causes falls in the home is the lighting in a room. If a room is too dark, especially at night, it can cause an increase in fall risk. If you have to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, make sure you have nightlights on throughout the house or keep a light on in another room other than your bedroom so that you can see the ground and where you are going to minimize fall risk.
Another easy thing you can try, especially in the bathroom, is to install a grab bar or multiple grab bars.
These can be installed in the shower area and around the toilet. There are also raised toilet seats that can help to assist your seat height so that you are not sitting down so low resulting in difficulty getting up. There are also shower chairs available that can be put in the tub or shower that allow you to sit while you bathe rather than stand. Putting down a gripping or non-slip mat on the ground surface of the shower can help to prevent falls while you are in the shower or bathtub.
Hire Help For Home Modifications
It is an option to contact a home modification business to cut out a section of your bathtub in order for it to be easier for you to step into/out of the shower or it is possible to change your bathtub into a walk-in shower. There are also businesses that can install a ramp on the outside of your home to make it easier for you to access your home and the outside world.
If you are struggling with going up/down stairs, it is possible to have a lift chair installed to help you go up and down the stairs, especially if you need to get down to your basement or navigate a multi-story home.
There are a lot of different modifications that you can make to make your home better accessible and help you to be able to live there longer. You can also typically find help for these types of things within your local Senior Centers. In Linden, where I live, there is a low-C Senior Center. They are able to loan out certain equipment if you need it in the home including things like raised toilet seats, shower chairs, and even walkers, canes, and wheelchairs. They typically will have other resources to point you in the direction of if you have other equipment needs, need help with dementia care, tax preparation, or finding other medical professionals in your area.
Contact Your Community Resources
It is also an option to locate your local area Aging Organization. In the Genesee County area, our organization is called Valley Area Association and aging. These individuals can provide a lof of different resources to help you as well.
If you find that you just need help around the home, you can hire house cleaners and individuals to come in to prep your meals. There are also several caregiving and aid services that are available to come in and help with personal care activities such as bathing, showering, and getting dressed. It’s so helpful that a lot of services are becoming more “mobile” and able to come directly to you.
It is also important to note that there have been several devices developed, such as a medical alert necklaces or braces available to you so that if you happen to have a fall or an emergency, you can push a button and it will automatically call for help for you.
Physical Therapy For Long-Term Independence
If you are looking to prolong the amount of time you are able to stay safely in your home and remain independent, another good option is to participate in physical therapy. My business, GO! Mobile Physical Therapy & Wellness is a mobile service, coming directly to you in your home.
We offer free consultations and are happy to come into your home, assess your area, and offer suggestions that we feel would make your home safer. We also work with you on things like strengthening, balance, pain reduction, etc. to keep you at optimal physical ability to remain safely within your home setting. Want to learn more about what “mobile” physical therapy is? Check out my blog post here to find out more!
If you have reached that stage in life where staying in your home and maintaining your independence has become a high priority to you, there are several resources out there to help you do just that. If you need assistance finding any particular resources that I talked about, let us know and we would be happy to connect you with the right people.
Think physical therapy is right for you? We offer free 20-minute consultation calls for us to get to know each other and see if you may benefit from physical therapy. Or if you’re ready to jump right in, call us today at 810-215-9222 to schedule an appointment!