Dangers For Seniors Living Alone And How To Overcome Them
More than 13 million seniors, aged 65 years old or older, live alone. Learn how to keep them safe in their own houses.
A research done by the American Association of Retired Persons stated that nearly 90% of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age, often referred to as “aging in place”. Around 28% of seniors live alone as of 2015. This means more than 13 million seniors nationwide.
We all know a senior who is determined to keep on living alone, and insist to maintain their independence, and that can be doable. However, there are a number of dangers that should be taken into consideration.
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A senior who lives alone in a home that is not equipped properly can face lots of hazards. Falling from stairs and slipping in the bathtub are just a few examples, in fact, over 1,000,000 people are involved in falls every year and over 12,000 die in stairway falls. Luckily there are different measures that can be taken to make sure such accidents do not happen, or at least minimize the possibilities;
For seniors living in a two-level home, try to modify the first floor to decrease the need for going up and down the stairs. Make sure the bathroom is in close proximity to the bedroom. If the first floor cannot be modified for the senior’s needs, then installing a stairlift would be a great idea.
If your loved one uses a wheelchair to get around, consider installing ramps in places that need it, as well as widening doorways to accommodate for them.
How Do Stairlifts Work?
A Stairlift is comprised of a motorized chair with a lift mechanism that moves up and down a rail on a staircase. They are usually plugged into an electrical outlet, but they can also be battery-operated.
The difference between a stairlift and a wheelchair lift is that the first is a device that a person sits on to go up or down the stairs, while the latter is mainly a miniature elevator.
Stairlifts can be installed wherever there are stairs; be it interior stairs, porch stairs, or outdoor stairways that lead into the home, and those are typically weatherproof.
Stairlift Care and Maintenance
Stairlift seats and controls should be cleaned regularly to ensure optimal performance and longevity. That is best done using a dry microfiber cloth.
In order to keep functioning properly, stairlifts need tune-ups. A tech should check it regularly, even if you’re not experiencing problems with it.
Nuts & Bolts Tightening
Check your chair for loose screws, nuts, and bolts. Make adjustments as necessary, but make sure not to over-tighten them.
Your stairlift uses the rails to move, and they keep the machine functioning properly. That is why it is important to keep them clean.
Safety in the Bathroom
Bathrooms are also one of the most hazardous places at home. The chances of seniors slipping and falling increase there. Consider installing grab bars where needed, and adding non-skid mats. Toilets can also be equipped with bars and a raised seat. For the bathtub, you should consider converting to a walk-in tub to make bathing a much easier process.
Other than their safety features, walk-in tubs are great for seniors because of their several therapeutic features. These include hydrotherapy (water therapy), aromatherapy, which is the use of natural essential oils and extracts from plants to promote wellbeing and chemically balance the body and mind through scent, as well as chromotherapy (color therapy).
What More Can You Do to Decrease the Incidence of Falls?
- Encourage activity to improve mobility and strength
- Do doctor-approved exercise to maintain lower body strength, balance, and endurance
- Report any recurrent falls or near falls to the doctor for a medical evaluation
- Identify fall hazards at home and eliminate them
- Make sure lighting at home is good
- Ensure medications are appropriate
- Remove Loose carpet or rugs