home safety for seniors
Senior Housing: Home Preferences & Safety: Loving Where We Live

Unveiling Hidden Gems: 12 Home Tweaks Ensuring Senior Safety

Savvy seniors and caring caregivers know all about home safety. Or do they?

Whether you're a senior enjoying the comforts of your own space or a dedicated caregiver ensuring the well-being of your loved one, creating a safe haven is paramount. Let's dive into some top-notch tips to keep your home sweet home both secure and cozy.

Can you say "Yes!" to all these?

Light the Way: Good lighting is your best friend. Ensure that all areas of your home, especially hallways, staircases, and entrances, are well-lit to prevent trips and falls. Consider installing motion-sensor lights for added convenience and energy efficiency.

Slip-Proof Surfaces: Slippery floors can be a major hazard, especially in areas like the kitchen and bathroom. Invest in non-slip mats or rugs with rubber backing to provide traction and stability.

Declutter with Care: Keep pathways clear of clutter, electrical cords, and loose rugs to prevent tripping hazards. It's also a good idea to secure any loose carpet edges to the floor to avoid slips.

Bathroom Safety: The bathroom can be a hotspot for accidents. Install grab bars near the toilet and in the shower or tub to provide support and assistance. Consider a shower chair or bench for added comfort and stability during bathing.

Caregiver Starter Guide

See Chapter 3 in this FREE Caregiver's Starter Guide for more about keeping your senior's home safe. 

Fire Safety: Be prepared for emergencies by installing smoke detectors in key areas of your home, particularly near bedrooms. Test them regularly and replace batteries as needed. Additionally, have a fire extinguisher readily accessible in the kitchen and know how to use it.

Medication Management: Keep medications organized and stored safely out of reach of children and pets. Consider using a pill organizer to keep track of doses and schedules, and dispose of expired medications properly.

Secure Staircases: If your home has stairs, make sure handrails are sturdy and securely anchored. Consider adding non-slip treads to steps for added traction, especially if they are wooden or slippery.

Kitchen Caution: Take precautions in the kitchen to prevent burns and accidents. Use oven mitts when handling hot pots and pans, and never leave cooking food unattended. Keep sharp objects like knives stored safely and use caution when using small kitchen appliances.

Emergency Plan: Prepare for the unexpected by creating an emergency plan and sharing it with family members or caregivers. Include important contact numbers, medical information, and a designated meeting place in case of evacuation.

Stay Connected: Consider investing in a medical alert system for added peace of mind. These systems allow seniors to call for help at the touch of a button, providing a sense of security and independence.

Regular Maintenance: Stay on top of home maintenance tasks to prevent accidents. Check and replace any loose or worn-out handrails, light bulbs, or flooring materials. Keep outdoor pathways clear of debris and well-maintained.

Fall Detection Technology: For added safety, consider utilizing fall detection technology. These devices can automatically detect falls and alert caregivers or emergency services, providing an extra layer of security for seniors living alone.

Remember, home safety is an ongoing process. Stay proactive and regularly assess your living environment for potential hazards. By implementing these tips, you can create a safe and comfortable home where seniors can thrive and caregivers can have peace of mind.

Here's to happy and safe living!

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aging in place
Senior Housing: Home Preferences & Safety: Loving Where We Live

Aging in Place or Assisted Living? A Guide to Senior Housing Choices

Fact: Seniors age in place! I like to think of senior housing as wherever we live!

According to the National Institutes of Health, over 93% of seniors over 65 live in the community. This leaves the rest of the population in a senior facility.

Almost half of all seniors age 85 and above live with family. Then 40% live alone. The average American is living longer and the quality of life is much improved from 20 years ago. 

So, whether you decide to age in place or seek out a senior community, there are several things you should know about each one. 

Aging in Place or With A Family Member:

Pros:

  • Familiar Environment:  Seniors can remain in a familiar and comfortable environment, which can contribute to emotional well-being.
  • Independence: Allows for a high level of independence and autonomy in daily living activities.
  • Community Connection: Maintains connections with neighbors, friends, and the local community.
  • Cost Savings: Depending on the situation, it may be more cost-effective than moving to senior housing.
  • Personalized Care: Customized care plans can be implemented to address specific needs.
  • Sense of Control: Seniors can have more control over their daily routines and lifestyle choices.
  • Emotional Well-Being: Familiar surroundings and independence can positively impact mental health.
  • Employee Selection: Hiring home care is totally up to the individual.

Cons:

  • Safety Concerns: Aging in place may pose safety risks, especially if the home is not modified for accessibility.
  • Isolation: Seniors may experience social isolation, particularly if they live alone and have limited mobility.
  • Limited Care Services: Access to certain healthcare and support services may be limited compared to senior housing.
  • Home Maintenance: Homeownership comes with ongoing maintenance responsibilities, which may become challenging.
  • Lack of Social Activities: Limited organized social activities compared to senior living communities.
  • Potential Loneliness: Without regular social interactions, seniors may face feelings of loneliness and depression.
  • Healthcare Access: Proximity to healthcare facilities and ease of access to medical services can be a concern.

Independent Living Communities: 

These senior housing communities offer housing options for seniors who are still active and prefer a maintenance-free lifestyle. 

Pros:

  • Maintenance-free lifestyle.
  • Social activities and amenities.
  • Sense of community.

Cons:

  • Limited healthcare services.
  • Will not provide assistance with daily tasks 
  • Will not pick up someone if they fall. Calls 911 instead

Assisted Living Facilities: 

Assisted living is suitable for seniors who need some assistance with daily activities but still want to maintain a level of independence. 

Pros:

  • Assistance with daily activities.
  • Social engagement opportunities.
  • 24/7 staff availability.

Cons:

  • Costs may be higher than independent living.
  • Limited medical services compared to skilled nursing.
  • Huge waiting lists for the better facilities.
  • May assist with falls.

Memory Care Communities: 

Designed for seniors with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia, memory care communities provide specialized care and support to ensure the safety and well-being of residents.

Pros:

  • Specialized care for those with dementia.
  • Secure environment.
  • Trained staff for specific needs.

Cons:

  • Higher costs due to specialized care.
  • Limited independence for residents.
  • Residents may be placed with others who are not in the same stage of dementia.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs): 

CCRCs offer a range of housing options, from independent living to skilled nursing care, allowing seniors to transition seamlessly as their needs change over time.

Pros:

  • Seamless transitions between care levels.
  • Variety of amenities, including workshops
  • Long-term planning for changing needs.
  • Often has rehab services

Cons:

  • Potentially high entrance fees.
  • Monthly fees may be expensive.

55+ Communities: 

These age-restricted communities cater exclusively to individuals aged 55 and older. They often provide amenities, social activities, and a sense of community for active retirees.

Pros:

  • Age-specific community.
  • Social and recreational activities.
  • Maintenance-free living.

Cons:

  • Limited diversity in age groups.
  • Restrictions on younger visitors, however guests are allowed.
  • The choice of how money is spent to increase value is limited.

Skilled Nursing Facilities: 

For seniors with complex medical needs or those requiring around-the-clock care, skilled nursing facilities provide comprehensive medical care and rehabilitation services.

Pros:

  • Comprehensive medical care.
  • Rehabilitation services.
  • 24/7 nursing care.

Cons:

  • Reduced independence.
  • Higher level of institutionalization.
  • Potentially higher costs.

Overall, any of these choices are good alternatives to asking family members to step up.  It takes an average of 32 people a week to take care of a resident. This is one of the reasons the cost is so high. And a bigger reason why family members burn out no matter how hard they try not to. 

Facilities also must pay legal fees, insurance, and maintenance on large properties. 

Super Ager Starter Guide

If you are seriously thinking about aging in place, get the Super-Ager's Starter Guide here and look at Chapter 2 on mobility because this truly determines where and how you will live. 

If you’re thinking of moving this year, do your homework first.  See this blog, When is The Right Time to Move in 2024.

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moving seniors
Senior Housing: Home Preferences & Safety: Loving Where We Live

When is the Right Time to Move in 2024?

As we evaluate ourselves as seniors, or if we are taking care of our senior, did anyone see changes and felt the concern to speak up?

Most families think about moving for a multiptude of reasons. Liz Kennedy offers the option of living in your home, just change a few things. 

Others want to unload a lot of stuff and move to a smaller convenient place.  While others want to move in with their adult child.  Some will even venture to a senior facility that housing independently living and continues all the way to rehab and nursing care. 

caregivers starter guide

What’s best for us?

The decision to move depends on various factors, and it's essential to consider the health, safety, finanaces, and overall well-being. Here are some common situations when seniors might consider moving:

  • Health concerns: If a senior is facing health issues that make it difficult for them to live independently, moving to a place where they can receive appropriate care may be necessary. As a caregiver, check out The Caregiver’s Starter Guide, 6 questions to ask yourself.
  • Home maintenance: If maintaining a home becomes too challenging due to physical limitations or financial constraints, moving to a more manageable living situation could be beneficial.
  • Social isolation: Seniors may consider moving if they feel isolated and want to be closer to family, friends, or a community where they can engage in social activities.
  • Financial considerations: If the cost of maintaining a current living situation becomes a burden, downsizing or moving to a more affordable place may be a practical choice.
  • Proximity to support services: Moving closer to medical facilities, shopping centers, and other essential services can be crucial for seniors who may require assistance.
  • Safety concerns: If a senior's current living situation poses safety risks, such as inaccessible bathrooms or stairs, moving to a safer environment may be necessary. (see this free guide on safety: The Caregiver’s Starter Guide, Chapter 4)

Biggest Mistake Seniors and Family Members Wished They Avoided 

I have seen too many seniors and their families wait until the last minute to find appropriate housing. Many of the best places are very expensive or have a 10-month waiting list. Don’t wait, start now.

It is always best to look now, at the beginning of the year, for what is out there.  Technology, facilities, and personnel are constantly improving. Compare other places to your current housing situation and then evaluate the costs and time it will take you to move.

Remember, if your ideal place becomes available and you still aren’t ready to make the change, then just go back on the waiting list until you are ready to move.

Articles you might like: Let's Get Honest About Boundaries

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