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One of the basic goals in a person’s life is to be independent. Independence is a sign of success. We look towards the people we love for approval and hope that they are proud of our accomplishments. Part of life’s accomplishments is working hard to settle into a certain life style within a community and find a place to live. We make it our own, create memories and watch our families grow. This place soon becomes a home.
As we get older, we continue to assess our situations and lifestyles and re-evaluate what is important to us. For most, our health, family and friends are high on our list. As part of a generation that has lived through the Great Depression, survived several wars and worked much of their lives to provide for their families in securing a place to live, it is no surprise that many seniors would prefer to stay in their homes for the duration of their lives. These senior citizens tend to struggle with the idea that they can no longer do everything themselves. Sometimes, it’s not until a family member notices that they need help or worse yet, that something has already happened to their health, that we finally admit to needing assistance.
If loved ones are to remain safe and healthy, it’s important to make sure their environment is safe and healthy as well. These are 5 tips to make living at home safer:
- Create an Emergency Contact List – Keep list of important numbers like 911, Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222, Health Care Providers, family members, neighbors and whoever may be the Power of Attorney by each phone. Make sure the emergency contact list is large enough to ready clearly.
- Reduce the Risk of Falls – Its best to wear supportive shoes that have smooth, rubberized soles. Avoid any shoe that just slips on. Tape down or remove area rugs. Never rush to get the phone or answer the door. People will call back or will wait for you. Try keeping a cordless phone or cell phone near by at all times. If you can, invest in an emergency response system that has a neck or write pendant. Finally, if you have a cane or walker, use it at all times. De-clutter your home so it is free and clear of trip hazards. You may need to re-arrange furniture and keep shoes, baskets, books, etc. off the floor and in their proper place. Finally, increase the natural lighting in your home or add more lighting sources such as night lights, even during the day, for areas that natural light cannot access like hallways. Also, always put the light on when walking up dark stairs. Be sure to use hand rails or railings at all times.
- Make Your Bathroom Safe – Invest in grab bars in the shower and around your toilet. Only use skid proof mats on the floor, and rubber, skid proof mats in the shower/tub. You may also want to consider a shower chair if getting up and down is too difficult or standing too long is hard. Remember to set your thermostat on the water heater to 120 degrees or less to avoid scalding.
- Don’t Be a Victim – Make sure your fire and carbon dioxide detectors are in working condition and have them checked twice a year. If there is a fire, get out of your home and call 911. You should know at least 2 ways to get out of your home to a safe place. Keep your windows and doors locked at all times. Never let a stranger into your home. Discuss telephone sales promotions with a trusted family member or friend to avoid being scammed. Never sign an agreement without a trusted advisor.
- Manage Your Medication – This is not always easy to do as we get older and sometime we need help. It’s best to keep all medications in their original container. You can ask your pharmacist to print larger labels to help. Keep a list of everything you are taking and what you are taking the medication for. It’s smart to bring the list and all of your medications to your healthcare provider during scheduled appointments so they can make sure you are taking your medications correctly.