Helping You or Your Loved One to Age-In-Place
There’s no way around it, despite our keen desire to be seen as “aging gracefully,” some of us need a little help behind the scenes with keeping up appearances. More importantly, safety becomes a much bigger concern as we grow older and no matter what our fitness level is, medical devices, mobility adaptation equipment and home safety tools just make good sense when it comes to aging in place. Our homes are our sanctuary, our refuge and the place where we feel most comfortable so why not consider the added comfort of aids that will help us to stay mobile – even while we stay at home! Considering the use of simple things like a shower bar or even a medic alert device gives peace of mind personally but also to the loved ones who worry about us. Whether we stay in our family home or move in with family, safety and security should be top of mind for seniors and those who love them.
Things You Can Do To Stay Safe At Home
There are so many tools available specifically designed for making the lives of mature adults a little easier that we probably can’t list them all. That’s why we also take this opportunity to remind Amintro members of our private Facebook group where you can share your own experiences, tips and tricks for staying safe while staying at home. In the meantime, here are a few suggestions you may not have thought about yet. Perhaps you think you’re not quite ready for help around the house and your children are pressuring you. Alternatively, you now recognize some of the inconveniences of aging but you are nowhere near ready to leave home! In either scenario – some of these smaller suggestions might be just right for you:
- In the Bathroom
- Anyone can slip and fall. In fact, bathroom accidents account for upwards of 80% of accidents that happen in the home and that number isn’t just related to older persons. However, it is estimated that approximately 35% of those aged 60 and older will experience a fall in the bathroom of the family home.
- Consider installing simple, fast and effective adaptive devices such as a shower grab bar, non-slip mats or bathtub strips, or a shower chair and a flexible hand-held showerhead that gives you the freedom to shower sitting down.
- Whether in your own home, or living with a family member who has done some retrofitting to ensure your safety – everyone can benefit from these simple safety and mobility aids.
- Around The House
- Stairs, area rugs, even to much clutter – all can lead to anything from a simple stumble to a dangerous fall or possibly even hitting your head and causing a traumatic brain injury. We don’t like to dwell on the possibilities but the reality is we don’t “bounce back” the way we used to and even a simple stumble can lead to a fracture, a more severe soft tissue injury and/or a longer recovery time.
- Consider removing area rugs or installing non-slip, under rug padding or grippers. They come in a variety of sizes to accommodate virtually any size and style of rug in your home.
- For the stairs, consider non-slip treads or specifically designed carpeting that adds additional safety for every step you take. Shop around; you are sure to find a style that matches your décor!
- If mobility is becoming more problematic, you may want to consider an investment in a stairlift. If the only thing keeping you from truly enjoying life at home, or considering a move to live with family, is a steep set of stairs – a stairlift will give you the mobility you need to move freely between floors safely. While they are a bigger investment than stair treads, they do come in a wide variety of styles and price ranges making it easier to find a lift within your budget. As one study pointed out, when weighed against the cost of your long-term compromised health from a fall, a stairlift is a wise investment. For example, “among older adults who died from falls in 2010, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), brain trauma was the cause of death in 41% of cases. But even “less severe” initial injuries such as broken bones may also constitute threats to life when they require potentially complicated medical interventions such as invasive surgery, the potential for infection, and the risks of anaesthesia.”
- Technology is Your Friend
- Loved ones often worry more about us than we worry about ourselves. It’s a nice “problem” to have, knowing that someone cares about your safety and security. Whether you are aging in place or have moved in with one of your adult children, technology is another tool we can all use to help us with ageing gracefully. Here’s how:
- Something as simple as an “Alexa,” or “Google Home/Google Mini” can be put to good use. Installing one in your home is like having your own personal assistant! Turn on the radio, play your favourite song, act like a TV remote or even turning on your outside lights or controlling a security camera are all within your control often using simple voice commands. Alexa, combined with an “Echo Connect” can even call 911 in case of an emergency.
- If you are looking for something within reach, medic alert and lifeline alert devices and personal alarm systems are available that will immediately summon help with the push of a button. For families still looking to enjoy a movie night, travelling for a vacation or even just couples going out for a long-awaited date night away from the kids, knowing your older adult at home is wearing a personal alarm that can summon help and have you notified at any time provides peace of mind – something it’s really hard to place a value on!
Whether you are a senior looking for safety or a part of the sandwich generation of mature adults looking for ways to help keep Mom and Dad safe; installing adaptive medical devices, making minor retrofits to the family home or employing technology as a tool to help give everyone peace of mind are all excellent methods of making aging in place a safe and viable option for seniors and those who love them. You can still be seen as aging gracefully and no one ever needs to see your shower handrail!