Aging in Place: Important Considerations to Make a Home Safer for Seniors

While we often resolve to make small changes to our health habits at the start of a new year, this year look at the bigger picture and think about how you (or a loved one) want to live.

Live comfortably and safely
Think about your ideal lifestyle; chances are it involves living comfortably in your own home. As we age, this requires a focus on home safety, tools that promote independence and finding a support network to help make it a success.

Home safety 
Aging in place can require home modifications, from simple, affordable products that make life easier, to remodeling efforts necessary for independence. Start by assessing your home, with an eye on fall prevention and improved visibility. Look for and remove tripping hazards, like area rugs, furniture and cords in traffic areas.

Hazards related to poor vision can be reduced by adding sufficient lighting and contrast throughout the home. Are the bathroom, kitchen, hallways, entryways and stairways brightly lit? Are lamps within easy reach of the bed and sitting areas? Add brightly colored tape to edges of tables and other furniture near traffic areas. Bathrooms can be relatively easy to renovate for safety, with the addition of bath benches, elevated toilet seats, and simple-to-install grab bars in showers and near toilets. (Check here for options: http://caregiverpartnership.com/product-browser.aspx?Seg ....) Make a bedroom safer with a bed rail and nightlights.

Some home modifications, such as adding levered faucets and easy-to-grab cabinet hardware, can be done by anyone with a few handyperson skills. For larger projects, such as extensive remodeling, look for contractors that specialize in aging in place. Consult the National Association of Home Builders for assistance in finding a specialist or learning more about helpful home modifications.


Watch the video - how to make a home safer for seniors


Tools for independenc
Advances in technology allow us to age in place safely, while providing peace of mind to family members and caregivers. Look for products specially made for those with hearing or vision problems. For the hard of hearing, look for smoke detectors with strobe lights, phones that amplify ringers and voices, and quality hearing aids that will help prevent a feeling of social isolation.

The ability to communicate is crucial to safely aging in place. Place a phone within easy reach of the bed, preferably one with big buttons, preprogrammed numbers and talking caller ID. Another helpful option is a personal emergency response system for anytime remote communication. Visit here for more information: http://www.caregiverpartnership.com/ears.aspx.

Support network
A successful aging-in-place arrangement is based on having a network of support that includes proximity to family and social interaction, as well as access to health care, financial and other senior services. If family members and friends cannot fulfill all caregiving duties, there are resources that can help, from visitation programs like ElderFriends to meal-delivery services like Meals on Wheels.

Contact the National Aging in Place Council for resources to help the elderly stay in their residences and take care of their spouses, or visit SeniorResource.com, a Web site devoted to aging-in-place topics. At The CareGiver Partnership, we have a family caregiver tool with links to over 1,000 resources, a team of product specialists experienced in caregiving, and a physician’s assistant who answers seniors’ and caregivers’ questions.


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Call us.  We're here to help
About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wis. Visit http://www.caregiverpartnership.com to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.

2 comments:

Jenny Harmon said...

Great information! We have a company that focuses on meeting this exact need. We helped care for my Father through his diagnosis of Alzheimer's...we learned so much about the importance of creating a safe, comfortable environment for him and his caregiving team. It was worth every effort to provide a situation for my Dad that gave him dignity and surrounded him with constant love and care. We have NO REGRETS!

The CareGiver Partnership said...

Jenny, thank you for your comment. If you have suggestions that we should add to this, please let me know. Lynn Wilson - lynnw @ caregiverpartnership.com

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