As individuals age, it becomes more difficult to move around and get out to do things. As a result of new challenges, many elderly people prefer to stay indoors. While there is nothing wrong with this, it is important to keep in mind safety in the home. Taking the proper steps to ensure that the elderly are safe indoors can be easy and applicable to most homes. This article will explore the different changes that come with age and provide safety tips for aging at home.
As we age, there is a shift in our physical ability. Our muscles can become weaker, which can alter our ability to stay balanced as we stand and walk. Some ways we can improve and maintain our balance are daily exercise, participation in a strength program, yoga, Thai Chi, and dance. Each of these activities can help to improve our physical health, thus making it easier to perform daily tasks. It is important to consistently challenge our bodies so that we do not lose strength and endurance in our muscles as we age. This will help us to live stronger, healthier lives!
Vision and Hearing
As we age, our peripheral vision becomes more limited. When this happens it can seem as though we are looking through a scuba mask. In order to ensure safety in the home as vision is declining, it is important to keep things organized and in order. This will help us to know where things are at all times. Hearing is another aspect of our bodies that worsens with age. Hearing loss can be a challenge where it becomes more difficult to discern what it is we are hearing, the origin of the sound and we need an increased volume to be able to hear.
The gift of age is accompanied with the gift of forgetfulness. As we grow older, we tend to lose some of our capabilities to remember. We may forget appointments more often or forget that we have turned the stove on. While we keep our ability to learn and pay attention, we gain the necessity of needing less and less distractions. Prompting and calendars become our best friends.
Safety Tips For Aging At Home
With all the changes that are happening to our bodies, we may need to change certain aspects of our lives. Below are some home safety tips to consider as we adjust to the aging bodies we live in:
Entrances and exits – These spaces in our homes should be level and free of tripping hazards. Steps can become an issue along with curbs, thresholds and welcome mats. Be sure that you are still able to manage keys, door knobs, door bells, mailboxes and peep holes. New video camera technology can be used to monitor the people and animals that are outside our homes.
Interior stairs and hallways – Notice the width of hallways in the event you may need to utilize a wheelchair in the future. Planning ahead for these adjustments can make life a lot easier in the long run. You may also want to consider installing railing in areas of the home that could be hazardous i.e the bathroom, shower, or stairways.
Bathrooms – Are you still able to manage the knobs, controls and is the depth of the sink and bath still workable for you? You may have some exciting renovations in store if you need to change any of these aspects of your home. Pay attention to the bathroom specifically. This is where we spend a lot of time as people, so we want to make sure it is safe and still usable.
Kitchen – Is this wheelchair accessible? Are the height of the sink, counters, cabinets and pantry still accessible or do modifications need to be made? Are you able to reach above and below to utilize the storage spaces? Is the hot water heater adjusted to a temperature that is safe? Is there adequate lighting and is the stove easy to manage?
Living room, bedrooms and dining – Can you get into and out of chairs, beds, sofas easily or do you need something to help you balance? Is the height of your furniture still manageable? Are there tripping hazards and can you move around safely? Is the lighting adequate and are you still able to turn on and off the TV, plug in the computer and charge your devices or are there modifications that need to be made?
Keep these questions in mind when you begin to consider the safety of your own home. If you are unsure of the the safety of continuing to live there, use Orchard at Athens as a resource for helping make a decision. Contact us for more information.