I am proud to bring you a guest article today from June Duncan. June is the co-creator of Rise Up for Caregivers, which offers support for family members and friends who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their loved ones. She is author of the upcoming book, The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers.
Understandably, most seniors would like to live in the comfort of their own homes for as long as possible. One of the greatest safety concerns of living in your own home as you age is the risk of a fall in your house. Falling is the leading cause of fatal injury for seniors, and your home can be a dangerous place to get hurt if you live alone. Thankfully, there are some simple changes you can make to help you stay in your home and age in place safely.
Making Some Modifications in Your Home
Updating and installing some modifications in your home will help create a safer environment. According to NewsUSA, the majority of falls occur in the bathroom due to the hard, slippery surfaces. To help prevent falls, install grab bars inside the shower and beside the toilet for you to hold onto if you need. Also, add some non-slip mats to the inside of your shower and bathtub and to the bathroom floor in front of your sink and tub. Other hazards in your home are exposed cords. So, walk through your house and make sure that all plugs and cords are securely tucked along the wall. You may want to consider adding lights to illuminate the hallways and rooms at night to avoid tripping over small furniture.
Hire Outside Help
Another difficult aspect of living in your home as you age is managing your household. Routine cleaning chores, such as scrubbing toilets and dusting the ceiling fans, are difficult or even dangerous for seniors. A simple solution is to hire a professional cleaning service to regularly come and clean your home. If it is in your budget (these services average $170 a cleaning in New York City), this is a great option to help you take good care of your home with the risk of injury to you. A clean house isn’t just for appearance sake; it also helps keep your overall health in good shape.
Increase Your Strength and Balance
In addition to modifying your home and finding help care for it, you can also improve your ability to age in place in the comfort of your home by increasing your physical strength and balance. Despite all your best efforts to prevent hazards in your home, the best way to prevent a fall is to have the strength to catch yourself. According to Prevention, tai chi is a great way for you to improve your flexibility and balance. You can also build your strength by lifting light weights (you can pick up some affordable hand weights at retailers such as Walmart for around $2.96), practicing chair squats, and doing side leg lifts. Before beginning any new exercise routine, be sure to check with your doctor first to make sure it’s safe for you.
Have an Emergency Plan in Place
Even if you follow all these tips and are confident in your ability to prevent falls within your home, it’s still a good idea to have a plan in place in the event of an emergency. According to Forbes, there are many tech options on the market that can help you alert someone or call for help. Smart watches, smart home consoles, and voice-activated devices, for example, are all helpful devices to get you help and medical attention if you need it.
Think About the Future
Unfortunately, there might be a time at some point when an assisted living facility will best suit your loved one’s needs. For example, if he or she has trouble dressing, cooking, or taking care of any basic necessities, then they could benefit from a place that can help them address these concerns. Even if you think this won’t become an issue anytime soon, it’s never too early to start looking for an assisted living facility in your area. In addition to researching and visiting any facility that catches your eye, you need to compare prices to ensure you find one that you or your loved one can comfortably afford. For example, in New York City, prices average almost $6,000 a month, depending on the type of facility you have in mind.
Aging in place doesn’t have to be scary. By making modifications in your house, hiring professional cleaners, improving your own physical strength, and having an emergency plan in place, you can rest assured that you are safe in your own home for many years to come.
About Fitness for Health:
Do you have an older loved one who could use assistance to improve balance, maintain weight management or better bone and joint health? We can help.
Fitness for Health is proud to provide a revolutionary, 12-week Bone and Joint Health Program for adults and seniors that capitalizes on weight-bearing, fitness activities. This groundbreaking program helps to improve posture and increase bone density, strength and balance while counteracting the effects of osteoporosis, osteopenia and aging.
The Bone and Joint Health Program elicits results faster and more effectively than traditional exercise (fitness for seniors) or pharmaceuticals through two state-of-the-art fitness technologies:
- bioDensity™ – Weight-bearing exercises are the key to stimulating bone growth, and the greater the weight applied, the better the results. The osteogenic loading that patients receive is multiples of bodyweight, and beyond what is typically seen in exercise. Research has shown, bone density gains that averaged 7% in the hip and 7.7% in the spine over one year using bioDensity (Jaquish, 2013). These results are multiples of what the current interventions can do for bone density.
- Power Plate™ – Power Plate is a whole body vibration platform that allows for reflexive engagement of the neuromuscular system at rapid and repeatable oscillation. This intervention has been clinically shown to increase balance and stability in both healthy and aging-frail populations.
When used once a week, research has shown the bioDensity system alone has significantly increased bone mass density, stability and functional movement with multiple ages, health conditions and for both genders.
Learn more about how we can help you create a customized fitness for seniors program that counteracts the signs of aging while helping to maintain weight management and increase bone and joint health.