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How to Create a Safe Environment for an Aging Person

How to Create a Safe Environment for an Aging Person Living Alone

As people age, they often experience a decline in physical and cognitive abilities. It just comes with the territory. While some seniors elect to live in some sort of assistive living situation, others prefer to stay in the home they have lived in for many years, sometimes even decades. When one spouse is gone, the remaining partner can still be safe living in their family home.

Physical Environment

A clutter-free, well-lit living space is important to reduce the risk of falls and to create an open, cheery space. The home should be well organized with needed items grouped together. For example, stamps, stationary, return address labels and envelopes can all be kept in a single drawer or bin. This way these items that are used together are all in the same place. There’s no need to run around looking for the stamps in one place, the envelopes in another – everything is together. Then, when the task is completed, everything goes back to the place where it all belongs. There you have it – organization!  This can be done for many other tasks if you sit down and think about it.

Make sure there are railings and grab bars where needed and that the floor isn’t slippery. Sometimes throw rugs or deep pile carpet can cause someone to trip and fall, so think about eliminating throw rugs and having flatter, denser carpeting, or wood or tile floors.

Health Environment

Be sure to eat right and get some exercise every day. There should be plenty of healthy, easy-to-prepare meal options in the pantry, like soups or even healthy frozen meals. Think about convenience food such as cut-up carrots and celery, so it’s easy to eat vegetables. In addition, a fruit bowl on the table might encourage eating fruit. Further, fresh, clean water should be readily available in bottles or from the tap if tap water is good to drink in your area.

Temperature control is essential. The home shouldn’t be too hot or too cold. The air should have between 30-50% humidity for optimum health. Perhaps get an air filter, so the air is clean and a humidifier or dehumidifier if needed.

Medications should be kept in one place and well organized. Automatic refills can be arranged at the pharmacy, for delivery, so there is no danger of running out.

Emotional Environment

Participating in loved activities is vital for living your best life. Trying new things can add interest to your day. Getting together with friends and family is also vital to your emotional health. There are lots of programs for seniors to socialize, you can take classes at the local community college, or join a group based on your interest. There are lots of volunteer opportunities or part-time jobs you can take to get out of the house and give back a little to the community. Stay engaged and active and surround yourself with good people.

Cognitive Environment

Don’t let “senior moments” jeopardize your safety and happiness at home. If you are getting forgetful, there are many things you can do to keep yourself thriving at home. You can get timers on the oven and stove so that if you forget you are cooking, the appliance will just shut off after a while. Devices such as Alexa, Siri, or OK Google can be set up to remind you to do certain tasks, from taking medication to leaving on time to get to a meet-up at the coffee shop.

Perhaps you, or your loved ones, can arrange to have well visits done daily to be sure you are doing well. You can contact SeniorThrive! For assistance as well. We can help you problem-solve through any difficulties you may experience so that you can be at your best. We can also help to keep you organized and clutter-free.

Your Environment

Your home is like a part of you. You can stay in your home with a little help and planning, no matter what your age. Be sure the physical environment is safe, keep good health habits, enjoy getting out and socializing, and find workarounds for any difficulties you may have. Ask for help whenever you need it, whether from your family or from professionals, SeniorThrive!, or social service agencies. Be flexible and know that your needs will change and adjustments will have to be made. You are entitled to enjoy your life and stay in your home, SeniorThrive! can help.

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