Everybody enjoys the feeling of independence, particularly when it comes to living in your own home and doing things your way. Living independently can, however, get more difficult as you age. Daily tasks can become strenuous, with the average household posing dangers such as trip hazards. Elderly people are far more prone to falls in the home, which are responsible for 1.6 million hospital visits in America every year. Conditions such as arthritis can also make it more difficult to go about your daily activities, such as personal grooming or cooking.
At the same time, however, most senior citizens want to avoid retirement homes or getting aid from a caregiver, and instead want to remain independent.
Whether you are in your golden years yourself, or want to ensure the safety of an elderly parent who is living alone, there are a range of measures you can take to make living at home comfortable, convenient and safe.
We take you from room to room and give you the top independent living hacks to protect you from injuries and to make your daily activities easier. Taking these tips on board will let you continue to enjoy your golden years independently and safely.
The bathroom is by far the most dangerous place in the home for older people. The combination of hard surfaces and wet floors is a recipe for accidents – add to that the fact that you’re in the buff, and the picture isn’t looking too good.
To prevent falls in the bathroom, it is well worth investing in aids to make it safer. Hand railings, anti-slip tape on the floor, and shower chairs make showering and bathing far more convenient for elderly people. No one wants to have to do the hurdles to get out of the bathtub, only to land on a slippery floor in their birthday suit, so do yourself a favour and get the required aids.
Some elderly people may also find it difficult to take care of their personal hygiene, due to limited mobility. To ensure that you keep looking and feeling your best, invest in tools that will make taking care of yourself easier.
Tools that can help with your personal grooming include toilet paper tongs, ergonomic hair brushes and body washers, to help with getting to hard-to-reach areas.
Cooking in the kitchen tends to involve lots of fine motor skills, which may be an issue if you’re suffering from arthritis.
Bottle openers, jar openers and kitchen work stations that hold ingredients while you chop all save your fingers from extra strain.
Also make sure that your cabinets are all within easy reach, so you don’t have to climb onto chairs to reach anything.
Railings may also be useful in the bedroom, allowing you to get in and out of bed easily.
Night lights and motion sensor lights are another smart investment if you need to get up in the middle of the night, ensuring that you don’t trip over anything in the dark.
Also make sure that your bed is the right height for you, so that you don’t have to deal with any unnecessary hassles to get in and out of bed.
Rugs make for a beautiful addition to your living room, but are one of the worst culprits when it comes to tripping accidents. Opt for wall-to-wall carpeting instead, tape down the edges of the rug, or even remove it altogether.
In general, when choosing furniture around the home, opt for large statement pieces rather than small pieces of furniture. These smaller items are easy to overlook and accidentally bump into, whereas large furniture can be easily navigated around. Also, choose round tables, instead of ones with glass corners.
All around the home
If your home has staircases, ensure that the handrailing is secure. Light switches at the top and bottom of the stairs or hallways is also smart, allowing you to see where you’re going.
Utilising technology around the home is also a great way of making life easier for yourself. Low vision keyboards and big button phones make it far easier to keep in touch with loved ones.
Retaining your independence and being able to live at home is key to many senior citizens’ peace of mind and comfort. By adopting the above independent living hacks, you can keep enjoying your home safely and conveniently.