Many senior citizens decide to stay at home and within their communities. According to some estimates, more than 12 million elderly people in the U.S. live alone. Living alone helps you remain within familiar surroundings, have control over your life, make decisions, and maintain your independence and convenience for as long as possible. However, living alone also comes with some risks and security threats.
The most important part of living alone is staying safe. Here are 11 home safety tips for seniors living at home to help you stay safe and healthy.
1. Remove Home Safety Hazards
First of all, keep all rooms bright and make sure that light switches are easily accessible. Also, minimize the use of step-stools, to prevent falls and injuries. Consider adding stair railings or grab bars around the house, especially in the bathroom.
Remove all unnecessary rugs, electrical cords, and low furniture that increase the risk of falls. Watch out for slippery points around your home, such as the entry points, the bathroom, or shower floor. Remember that even minor falls can have serious long-term implications. So, make sure to keep your living space free of fall and trip hazards as much as possible.
2. Stay on Top of Your Medications
Keep extra medications on hand so you don’t run out of them. Also, make sure to always keep your medication in the same place, to avoid misplacing your pills. Poor medication management can have significant consequences. It is vital, therefore, that you manage your medications well. There are useful apps such as Medisafe Medication Reminder that can help you stay on top of your medications.
3. Stay Active
Exercise is one of the key aspects of staying healthy. Physical activity can help you stay in a good mood, but it can also reduce the risk of getting sick, improve your flexibility, and help prevent injuries. While your chronic illness or other health conditions can make regular exercise difficult, there are many exercise options to consider, such as yoga, chair-based exercises for seniors, relaxed walks, etc.
4. Stick to a Healthy Diet
A well-balanced, nutritious diet is essential for good health. Eating healthy means that you stick to a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, use different sources of proteins such as fish and beans and avoid processed food as much as possible. Also, make sure to include milk and dairy products in your diet to keep your bones strong and healthy.
5. Keep in Touch
Living alone can quickly turn into isolation and loneliness. Family connections and contacts in your community may become fewer or limited as you age. However, try not to lose touch with friends and other people from your social circles. Staying connected is an excellent way to maintain good mental health. Getting involved in activities in local senior centers or clubs can help connect with people with similar interests. Also, volunteering or caring for others – your friends, neighbors, grandchildren, animals or people in need can give you an important sense of the purpose.
6. Invest in Alarm System
Regardless of your health condition, an alarm system in your home can provide you with peace of mind, keeping you safe and secure and allowing you to get help in case you need it quickly.
7. Keep Your Doors and Windows Locked
Always keep your home security in mind, whether you are at home or not. Locking doors and windows will prevent break-ins and help ensure your safety during day and night.
8. Install an Alert System
Alert systems for seniors can be beneficial if you live alone. They are easy to use and provide a sense of security. If you have an accident, you simply press the button (usually worn on a necklace or a bracelet) and call for help.
9. Allow for a Checking-In System
Agree with your family or friends to check-in on you at regular intervals. This can be arranged once a day or weekly, depending on your needs and health condition. Having your kids, other family members or friends calling you to make sure you’re okay is especially important if you struggle with significant health challenges.
10. Seek support
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 15 percent of adults aged 60 and older suffer from some kind of a mental disorder. If you are concerned about your mental health, seek professional mental health support. Also, there are other support options for seniors available such as legal, health, and financial services. These services are available in your local community and online.
11. Have a list of Emergency Contacts on Hand
Make sure you keep handy a list of emergency contacts on your phone. This will ensure safety and proper care in the event of an injury or accident and help you feel safe in your home.