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Tips to Make Your Existing Home Safer & More Accessible

Tips for seniors looking to make their existing space safer and more accessible

While downsizing is a natural progression for many senior citizens, it’s not always preferential or cost effective. For seniors looking to make their existing space safer and more accessible, here are some basic tips and suggestions:

Living independently is a struggle for many elderly citizens. Seniors are more at risk to be victims of falls or other mobility related injuries. If possible, recruiting family members to live with seniors may help create a safer environment. However, this is not always the most logical scenario, and seniors may not have immediate family in the area, or members who are willing and/or able to assist. Certain companies offer in-home care, that is designed to help the elderly remain in their home, while also minimizing risk. This specific course of action, is particularly helpful for seniors who live by themselves and struggle with any sort of disability.

While in home care is ideal for many, it’s not always affordable, and for others, not necessary. Furthermore, there are many upgrades seniors can utilize that will not be financially strenuous, and also allow for seniors to thrive independently. Grab bars are a fantastic addition to many spaces, and relatively easy to install and maintain. Grab bars are commonly found next to toilets and showers. Additionally, adding some sort of support like a folding chair in the shower, can help seniors who struggle with prolonged periods of standing. Bathrooms are often notorious for causing falls, therefore taking certain precautions can help alleviate stress when it comes to heightened fall risk areas.

Another area that can be potentially dangerous, are the stairs. As senior citizens age, they may find that the stairs become increasingly more difficult to navigate. Luckily, there are now various different installations that can help the elderly tackle the staircase, safely. Staircase lifts in particular are often utilized in home planning for the aging. It’s also worth noting that Medicaid and some insurance plans may help cover stair lifts. If you’re curious to know your options, talk to your insurance provider for further information.

Medical alert systems with personal pendants can help ease the mind of seniors who live on their own. Medical alert systems offer the elderly peace of mind, particularly if they live alone, or are left alone for extended periods of time. A medical alert system allows seniors access to emergency numbers and services if they happen to suddenly lose their mobility. These personal pendants can travel from room to room on the person’s body, and can be used at any given moment to alert an operator of a medical issue or crisis. There are several different providers who offer this service, and they vary based on what services they provide.

Cellphones can prove useful, even for the less technologically savvy. Many cellphone providers still offer models that are user friendly, particularly for those who may not be the most technologically inclined. Cell phones offer another safety net for seniors. Many models now allow for certain numbers to be “favorited” and thus, easily accessible in the event of an issue. Additionally, app stores for smartphones now have a variety of applications geared toward ensuring the safety of the user.

Routine checks of equipment can be lifesaving. While this tip is relevant for everyone, it is particularly pertinent for seniors. Routine checks for smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and the like, can be lifesaving.

Assess other areas of the home for optimal mobility. Large area rugs and other furniture may no longer be practical for individuals struggling with their mobility. Rugs in particular are often not user friendly when it comes to wheelchairs. In these instances, it’s a good idea to assess the necessity of certain furniture. You can also take precaution by finding the best flooring material for your specific needs. Certain flooring options are far better for fall prevention than others.

If finances are an issue, look into funding opportunities. Senior citizens can often find themselves the benefactors of certain programs and financial aid to improve their quality of life. Doing some research into these programs, and discovering where you may qualify for aid can greatly reduce some of these costs.

There’s no such thing as being too cautious. Creating a safe environment may save certain individuals from large medical issues down the line. Being cautious can not only prevent physical harm, but it can also give senior citizens peace of mind, and tranquility, during an often-transitional time.