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Aging in Place: Essential Home Safety Tips for Seniors

Margaret Etudo
A happy elderly woman sitting on her couch alone.
Falls, security issues, and problems with managing medications are some of the challenges older adults encounter when they choose to live in their own homes as they age.

Aging in place can be an excellent way for older adults to maintain their independence and quality of life. But as we mature, we must remember that the norms in our homes can become less safe and less comfortable due to our changing medical needs.

Luckily, medical alerts like Medical Guardian are just one of the ways to improve seniors' lives and make their homes safer and more livable. With a background in pharmacy, I understand what's necessary to keep our seniors safe and cared for while aging in place.

» Learn how to prevent the most common home accidents.

Safety Risks and Challenges for Seniors at Home

Falls: Slips and trips at a mature age can lead to severe injuries. So, as we age and our bodies weaken, keeping our homes fall-safe becomes a priority.

Medication: When no one is watching, there's a chance of taking too much medication or missing doses completely. This is especially dangerous for conditions needing specific meds regularly. I've experienced this firsthand with my diabetic dad—it's a real struggle managing his meds. Ensuring he takes them correctly and at the right time is a matter of life or death.

Security: My grandma had to move to the city because it wasn't safe enough to leave her alone. Sometimes, even in what looks like a cozy area, being alone puts older adults at risk. A strong helping hand nearby can help keep your beloved senior safe from potential dangers.

Essential Safety Tips and Considerations

Medication Management

Your seniors may feel they don't need regular assistance from their doctor, which can lead to misuse. Someone nearby, like a neighbor, nurse, or family member, can ensure proper medication adherence and prevent abuse.

Injury Prevention

To help avoid falls, install simple fixes like non-slip mats in the bathroom and secure other household rugs and furniture to make home life more safety-conscious. Railings on stairs, showers, baths, and nearby toilets can help with general lifestyle assistance, comfort, and safety.

Many older seniors may experience discomfort if their furniture doesn't cater to their specific needs, such as seat height or upright backrests. 2015 research indicates that varying body positions can help with blood circulation.

Smart Technology

Some smartphones are equipped with features that trigger alerts to designated emergency contacts. For instance, I'm my mother's direct 911 emergency contact. This technology is especially beneficial for older people when they're alone because it ensures that someone will be notified and can help immediately.

Medical alert bracelets and buttons are light, simple to use, and give your beloved seniors a sense of freedom. With a medical alert control such as One Call Alert on your person at all times, you can move around the house and even leave the premises. It's a comfort to know that help is just a button press away should you need assistance.

Smartwatches are another valuable and convenient tool to check your heart rate, oxygen levels, and other vital signs. This is particularly helpful if you don't have the mobility for frequent hospital check-ups. Smartwatches can even help predict future health risks.

» Want more safety options? Try out these Life Alert alternatives.

Regular Exercise

Gentle bodyweight exercises like yoga and Tai Chi can benefit general mobility and strength and can be easily incorporated into daily routines. Classes specifically designed for seniors are easy to sign up for, and using stable home exercise equipment at a comfortable pace is a great way to keep active from the comfort of your own home.

Home Modifications

Doorways can be adjusted to accommodate wheelchairs and the individual's size to make moving around in their daily life a little easier.

Adjustable beds are another valuable addition, especially for individuals with mobility issues or pain. Elevating the bed can improve fluid circulation and electrolyte balance, contributing to overall well-being.

» Mature and on the move? Check out these medical alerts for active seniors.

Stay on Top of Medication Requirements

My first recommendation is always to get a pill organizer. When I was around 11 or 12, my dad's friend gave him a pill organizer that had compartments for each day of the week. It simplified medication medication management, helping him take the right pills on the correct days, and could even be modified to show the prescribed times.

And, in today's world, the convenience of alarms makes setting reminders simple. These days, my dad sometimes asks my mom for help checking vitals or administering insulin injections. If someone can help, even briefly, embrace the assistance.

Relying on someone to remind seniors at home to take their medication is a common issue. A 2018 study showed that 95% of US adults believed home healthcare aides should remind patients about medication intake.

If there's no helping hand available, consider using online medication management services. These apps streamline the process by helping you set alarms to organize your medication schedule. They serve as an all-in-one solution, eliminating the need for physical organizers or additional aid.

Home Emergency Tips and Procedures for the Elderly

In the case of an emergency exit, an emergency pack is best. A light travel bag that's easy to pick up and leave with when you're in a hurry should hold essentials such as:

  • Spare batteries
  • Spare medication or prescriptions
  • Water
  • Flashlight
  • Waterproof blanket
  • Cash
  • Contact information
  • ID documentation

Your emergency contacts must also agree to and understand fully the responsibility of caring for your elderly family member in emergencies. It's best to organize these strategies beforehand and practice the routine now and again to ensure that anyone involved knows what to do.

A Blueprint for Aging in Place: Fortify Your Future

A proactive approach is vital to keeping our beloved elders safe and well at home. You can benefit later from these simple modifications implemented to fortify your home environment.

This holistic approach bolsters physical safety and cultivates emotional security, ensuring your beloved seniors flourish with independence and dignity.

» Want to try a personal safety system? Choose the proper medical alert for your needs.

Margaret Etudo
Margaret Etudo is a medical writer specializing in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and various medical fields, with a Bachelor of Pharmacy Degree in progress at the University of Lagos. Her experience includes crafting articles for top10.com, WebMD, and Medical News Today, where she exhibits her ability to simplify complex topics in areas like respiratory, mental, and sexual health. Margaret makes it her mission to break down complex medical information for the everyday reader.

The author of this article has been paid by Natural Intelligence to write this article. Neither the author nor Natural Intelligence provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or your local emergency number immediately.