Peach Tree Times
Some of our articles have been written by guest writers
Peach Tree Times
There are many things that can make it difficult or even dangerous to navigate through your home as you get older. Here are some strategies to make your house safer for you or your loved ones.
Secure your pets:
As much as we may love them, our furry friends and their toys can sometimes be a serious tripping hazard.
If you have animals in your home, make sure you know where they are while you're moving around. If you live with other people, it may help to have them hold on to the animals while you move from room to room.
If you're visiting a family member or friend that has pets, you can always ask them to leash up their dog or put their cat in another room for your visit.
Keep floors clear:
Throw rugs can be a hazard, especially for people using walkers or scooters. The front wheels of mobility aids may make it over bumps that the back wheels get caught on.
Clear up any clutter on the floor. This includes things like loose papers, extra shoes, and clothing.
Consider changing doorknobs:
Typical round doorknobs can be difficult for seniors to use. Consider swapping them out with lever-style door handles.
Modify the bathroom:
The bathroom is often one of the riskiest rooms in a senior's house. Some easy ways to make it safer include plugging in a nightlight, adding non-slip mats inside the bathtub and shower, and adding a shower chair. Additional improvements might be things like installing grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet, replacing a traditional bathtub with a walk-in model, and getting a raised toilet seat.
Keep emergency numbers handy:
If you have a home phone, keep a list of numbers near it. If you have a cell phone, keep it somewhere you'll remember, like the fridge. Make sure to have the information is written large enough for you to easily read in a hurry.
This list should include things like emergency services (911), poison control (1-800-222-1222), your doctor's office, and a friend or family member.
Have someone check in regularly:
Especially if you're living alone, it's important to have someone drop by regularly. Whether it's a friend, family member, or a neighbor, it's important to have the peace of mind someone will notice if something happens.
It would also be a good idea to consider getting an alert necklace or bracelet so you can call for help in an emergency.
Oftentimes people are reluctant to consider moving to a retirement community or independent living community. This is often because of the misconception that senior living communities are the same as nursing homes. However, senior communities offer a variety of services and amenities while still allowing residents to maintain their independence.
Choosing when and where you want to move can be a difficult process.
Some Factors to Consider
Home maintenance & chores:
As you get older, it becomes more difficult and tedious to do the chores you once found easy. Alternatively, you might just be tired of performing the chores you used to do without complaint. This includes everything from cleaning out gutters, washing windows, and clearing snow from driveways to cleaning bathrooms and washing dishes. Senior communities provide relief from the constant battle of home maintenance.
A study published in 2014 showed that people who eat healthier spend an average of two hours a day just preparing and cooking food. All that time investment might make you want to avoid cooking altogether, leading to skipped meals and poor nutrition. Retirement communities often provide 3 nutritious and delicious meals a day. Food always tastes better when you don't have to cook it.
Security & Safety
Consider the safety and security of your home. In the long run, what kinds of modifications would you need to make in order to remain there. Would you need to add grab bars, ramps, or even stairlifts? Do you have a way to call for help if you need it? Senior communities are built with aging in mind. They usually have staff on-site for emergencies, as well as emergency pull strings, grab bars elevators, and ramps.
Life is more fun when you share it with friends. Having a network of friends not only feels good, but it's also important for your well-being. A study from the National Institute on Aging links loneliness in older adults to health risks like high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, and cognitive decline. The opportunity to make new friends is one of the benefits of moving to a retirement community.
Hobbies & activities
Making plans for the day and engaging in hobbies helps provide a purpose in life. Many communities provide a variety of daily activities such as bingo, movies, crafts, and exercise programs. Not only do these help keep you occupied while you're doing them, but you might also gain friendships when you join.
If driving has become difficult for you, you might have to rely on family, friends, or public transportation to do the things you want to do, whether it's shopping, appointments, or visiting friends. Most retirement communities provide some form of regular transportation.
Dehydration is a year-round problem, but it's especially important to think about as we get into the hotter months of the year. Not getting enough fluids can be a serious health risk for anyone, especially older adults.
Signs of Dehydration
There are many ways to increase the amount of fluid you're drinking. Some options include:
Many people benefit from an animal companion. Whether it's a dog, cat, or another animal entirely, having a pet can help boost your well-being.
In October 2018, the National Poll on Healthy Aging surveyed a national sample of adults age 50-80 about their pets. 55% of adults surveyed said they had a pet. Of those with pets, more than half had multiple pets.
Benefits of Pet Ownership
Taking care of plants can have a great impact on your physical and emotional well-being. It calls you outside into the sun and encourages you to do something you care about.