Happy, Safe “Home Sweet Home” As We Age
Check out these smart ways to age in place.
Is this you? Your aging parent(s) want to remain in the house where they’ve lived for many years and where they are comfortable with memories, friends and neighbors. No moving to a senior facility for them! You want to be supportive but are worried they might fall, forget to take their medicines, not eat properly, try to do chores beyond their ability, and on and on.
According to “The United States of Aging Survey” (AARP June, 2012), approximately 90% of seniors (age 60+) plan to continue living in their current homes for the next five to 10 years of their life. Of these individuals, 85% are confident in their ability to do so without making significant modifications to their homes.
However, that confidence dwindles as people get into their 70s and beyond. According to the same survey, “although 65% of seniors between the ages of 60 and 70 find it very easy to live independently, among those aged 70 and older, only 43% find it very easy. Nearly two in 10 Americans aged 70 and older say either they can’t live independently and accomplish daily tasks without assistance from caregivers or community resources or find it difficult to do so.”
The truth is, aging in place can be enormously healthy mentally, physically and psychologically for many older adults. Sometimes, all it takes is making a few modifications to their living spaces to help keep seniors independent, safe and secure in their own home.
Here’s are some of the many ideas, tools, technologies and products specifically for older adults to help them age in place.
In the Kitchen
- Replace kitchen rugs with non-slip versions
- Replace cloth potholders with non-flammable ones
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and change out batteries every year on a birthday
- Install a fire extinguisher and role play how to use it should it be needed
- Swap out heavy glass bowls for lighter weight, unbreakable plastic versions
- Get a rubber grip opener to make it easier to open jars and bottles. Visit www.vivehealth.com to read “7 Best Jar Openers for Arthritis”, March 12, 2018
- Move frequently-used items to lower shelves for easy, day-to-day access
- Purchase a solid, rubber-footed step stool to reach higher areas and climb only to the first step. Ask for help to reach the highest items.
- For stovetop cooking, set a countertop or other type of alarm for each time you’ll need to tend to the pan or skillet again. Do not leave the kitchen without doing so. It can be easy to get distracted and forget you left something on the stove.
In the Bathroom
- Use only bath rugs that have a non-skid backing
- Add non-skid mats or tape to the tub or shower floor
- Install sturdy grab bars where needed in the bathroom
- Install an anti-scald device to your tub and shower faucet to prevent hot water burns
All Living Spaces
- Repair any loose carpet, tile, or raised areas of flooring
- Replace raised door thresholds with no-step, no-trip, beveled thresholds
- Keep clutter to a minimum and definitely away from traffic patterns
- Install light switches at the top and bottom of stairways, at the entry and exit of rooms and porches, inside the garage, and along outdoor walkways
- Get rid of electrical cords that can be a trip hazard. Try cordless lamps instead.
- Keep several flashlights throughout the house –– in the kitchen, bedside, in the bathroom, in the garage, on a porch, in the car, in the basement, and even a small flashlight for your purse, pocket or keychain. You’ll want easy access to light should there be a sudden loss of electricity.
- Install railings along outdoor steps and walkways
- Faithfully use a pill reminder box/pack (versions can be found at discount stores and drugstores)
- Look into MedMinder –– a subscriber plan. This digital pill dispenser flashes or unlocks at the time preprogrammed by a family member or caregiver. The box beeps and if it’s not accessed, the voice of a family member or caregiver issues a reminder. If still no response, the senior gets a call and their contact person also is notified.
- CareZone is a no-cost phone app that buzzes when it’s time to take medications, leave for appointments, refill prescriptions. CareZone also stores your complete list of medications via a photo you take of all prescription bottles.
- Reminder Rosie is a talking clock that lets your record up to 25 reminders at a time in the voice of a family member or caregiver.
Personal Emergency Response Systems
- Choose a monitoring company, such as MobileHelp, Great Call, First Alert and others. Look into systems that work both at home and wherever the older adult may be.
- Look into systems that alert you as to the activity level of the senior. BeClose and Lively are two options that will alert you to any unusual activity in the home –– such as if your loved one is wandering or leaving the house unexpectedly, or if lights have not been turned on by a certain time in the morning.
At Lenox, as part of our Wealth Impact services, we work closely with seniors and with families to help make the later years of life as enjoyable, happy and easy as possible. If we can help you or your loved ones, just ask us about our EMBRACE program. We have a Certified Senior Advisor® (CSA®) on our staff who will be happy to share more.
If you’re ready to discuss financial, business, career and life planning that will allow you to Fund a Life You Love®, we’d love to tell you more. Let’s talk. It’s your tomorrow. Call us for a complimentary 1-hour review. Call 513.618.7080 or visit www.lenoxwealth.com to Fund a Life You Love.
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