According to Seniors Resource Guide, aging in place is defined as the ability for a senior to live in a home of their choice “safely, independently, and comfortably.” Income levels, physical ability, and age aren’t calculated into this definition. Most people hold this as the gold standard for senior living conditions; however, this isn’t achieved without some preparation and oversight.
Keep in mind that 60 percent of senior falls happen in the home. In order to create a safe place to live and prevent a trip to the ER, seniors and their homes will have to undergo some changes. Here are some tips for helping a senior age in place while reducing the risk of falls.
Participate in Physical Therapy
Physical therapy isn’t only intended for individuals recovering from an accident, injury, or surgery. This practice has the ability to help anyone improve their posture, range of motion, and stability. For seniors, physical therapy can aid in fall prevention. The reason so many seniors fall at home is due to their weakening muscles and brittle bones. Professionals can help correct these problems by working with seniors to improve their mobility and build up their musculoskeletal strength. When practiced regularly, physical therapy can work to prevent the kinds of falls that could make it impossible for a senior to age in place.
Invest in an Emergency Alert System
Although aging in place allows seniors to live their lives independently, there are some inherent risks that come with this decision. It’s always a good idea to have an emergency alert system as a backup just in case something goes wrong. Even if you take all of the necessary precautions,
there is still a chance that a senior may suffer from a bad fall. The best way to make sure this fall isn’t serious or life-threatening, you should invest in some sort of device that allows seniors to contact help immediately. The cost of these devices pales in comparison to the security and peace of mind it offers to older adults who wish to age in place.
Keep Lighting Even Throughout the Home
Working to reduce the risk of falls doesn’t only involve home modifications. There are more subtle and affordable changes that can help achieve the same goal. For example, keeping a home’s lighting balanced can improve visibility and stability. As we age, our eyes have difficulty
adjusting quickly to sudden changes in lighting, whether we go from darkness to light or vice versa. To help combat this problem, seniors should keep all rooms at the same brightness setting. This is especially important in hallways, staircases, and other tight places.
Remodeling Bathrooms for Greater Accessibility
Bathrooms are tricky places for seniors to maneuver. And since these rooms are frequented more than once a day, it’s necessary to make some modifications to help reduce the chance of a fall. You can start by adding grab bars around the toilet and bathtub for greater stability and
support. Bathtubs and showers with high entrances also pose a threat. If you can afford the renovation, a no-threshold entry makes it much safer and easier for a senior to get in and out. Aging in place is a goal for many seniors who want to maintain their independence, quality of life, and reduce their visits to the ER and doctor’s office. Since seniors are at a high risk of falling and sustaining permanent injuries, it’s necessary to make some lifestyle and home changes to help reduce this tendency and make it possible to age in place comfortably.
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