Friday, July 20, 2018

10 Tools to Help Seniors Age in Place

The data is in and research shows that upwards of 90% of seniors over the age of 65 want to remain in their home as they age. While this goal may seem completely practical, the truth is that many homes are not equipped to fully support the health, safety, and independence of an older adult, especially one living on their own.

As a senior yourself or a caregiver for one, don’t miss this essential list of 10 tools to help seniors age in place:

Medical Alert Systems
Whether it’s a free-standing phone, a digital ID bracelet, or even a pendant worn around the neck, medical alert systems provide peace of mind for both seniors living at home and their caregivers far away. With the tap of a button, a senior can quickly alert emergency contacts or even 911 in the event of a fall, injury, or other accident.

Lift Chair
For seniors with any type of mobility issue, from leg weakness to joint discomfort, an armchair or recliner which mechanically raises up and down can provide a world of assistance. Lift chairs are remote controlled and can lift forward and up to help a senior to their feet from a sitting position. Getting from a seated position to a nearby mobility aid is easier than ever and makes navigating the home environment solo much more possible.

Grab Bars
Bathroom upgrades are one of the highest priorities for seniors living independently at home as the bathroom itself is a high-risk environment for falls. In addition to non-slip flooring, grab bars both outside and inside the shower or shower tub offer seniors a sturdy support as they tend to bathing needs. Items like toilet seat risers can also aid a senior when sitting down or standing up from the toilet.

Small updates to lighting around the home can make a huge difference for seniors aging in place. Make sure wattage is consistent in light bulbs from room to room and consider replacing commonly-used lamps (like in the bedroom and living room) with motion-activated or clap-on versions so there’s no concern about scrambling through the dark to flip a switch.

Medicine Organizer
With 4 out of 5 older adults living with at least one chronic condition, the chances that you or a senior you know take some type of medicine daily is high. Medicine organizers help seniors stick to their medicine schedules and allow them to sort and coordinate medicine doses both by day but also the time of day, i.e. you can get an organizer with A.M. and P.M. boxes for each day of the week. Some medicine organizers even alert seniors to when it is time to take medicine.

Bed Rails
Bed rails not only help with getting in and out of bed independently, but they can assist with repositioning in bed, allowing seniors to facilitate the most comfortable sleeping position (and therefore improving sleep quality and duration). Adjustable bed rails are fairly easy to install and maneuver and can be found online or in some pharmacies or big box stores.

Home Monitoring System
Technological advancements are taking home monitoring to the next level when it comes to senior wellness. Some monitoring systems consist of both safety features (like remote-controlled locks on doors) as well as motion-sensing around the home so children and caregivers can be alerted accordingly.

High-powered Blender
When it comes to the discussion of aging in place, the focus is often on medical needs and physical safety, however, nutrition plays a key role in health outcomes too. Cooking substantial, nutritious meals may not always be feasible for older seniors but a high-powered blender can help. Devices like Blendtec’s and Vitamix’s can whip up meals from smoothies to soups in a matter of seconds - all you have to do is throw in the necessary healthy ingredients and press a button.

Digital Device
It’s no surprise that research shows social isolation and loneliness can contribute to mortality. When a senior ages at home, especially when they are on their own or cannot drive, their levels of social interaction and engagement can plummet. Digital devices like laptops, tablets, and smartphones combat this type of isolation by connecting seniors with the outside world whether it’s helping them video chat with grandkids or simply allowing them to message old friends on social media.

Outdoor Signage
Often overlooked, outdoor address signage that clearly displays the house number on a senior’s home can make all the difference, especially in the event of emergency services trying to reach the home. Sizeable mailbox and house numbers that aren’t just large but can also be seen in the dark are important and fairly easy to find and display.

This is a guest blog entry.

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