While aging in place at home may not be possible for everyone, with a few minor adjustments this can become the reality for many people — one of the most important steps though is ensuring that the home is safe.
Safety concerns pertain to a number of areas as people age — mostly these are based around preventing falls, adjusting the home for the loss of mobility, ensuring communication with others, and maintaining proper nutrition.
Preventing Falls and Adjusting for Loss of Mobility
Falls affect healthcare costs, mortality, and mobility. According to a study, “In the United States, an estimated 28.7% of adults aged 65 years or older fell in 2014. Falls result in increased morbidity, mortality, and health care costs. Risk factors for falls include age, medication use, poor balance, and chronic conditions (ie, depression, diabetes).” Issues such as poor balance, medication, and diminishing vision can make formerly easy tasks like getting around and showering a safety concern. Oftentimes due to pain, less flexibility or the required extra force to complete daily tasks like cleaning or grocery shopping these household chores can pile up — creating risk factors that lead to tripping and falling. However, planning ahead can help you to prevent some of these worries.
Companies like EveKare, are making their way into the US market and specializing in innovative safety features for homes to help older adults. Paul Goldberg brought EveKare from Australia to the US in 2019 and with it innovation to a category that hasn’t changed much in 10 years.
Planning safety to make your home more comfortable as you age is absolutely critical.
- Add Light- Brighten up spaces to ensure you can see trip hazards. Nightlights and lighting to help with night time bathroom visits aren’t just for kids. These can help prevent accidents at any age.
- Grab Bars/Handle Rails/No-Slip Technology — These can help to steady a person in places where it is hard to maintain balance. This especially helps in the bathroom to prevent falls in wet areas like the shower.
- Small Renovations — Changing round door handles to lever handles can help with gripping if arthritis becomes an issue. Other small adjustments like this and removing trip hazards can make aging in place easier.
Previously these types of changes were often skirted by homeowners who didn’t want to make their home ‘look like a hospital’ as the options for such innovations came in limited colors and sizes.
EveKare is changing the marketplace with variety! The options are no longer only stainless steel. As Goldberg states, “You can age in place without compromising your style, and why shouldn’t your bathroom be as attractive as your kitchen?”
Some of these adjustments may even be covered by some insurance claims if they are installed related to an injury as they are seen as medical equipment. However, for many, this is an out of pocket expense so it is good to plan ahead instead of requiring on-demand products. With planning it is easier to customize equipment to your style and taste.
EveKare is pioneering the glow in the dark category for lighting with exciting innovations in LED night light grab bars, glowing toilet seats, and lighting that is time or sound activated. These user-friendly options are making safety at home a fashionable aging-in-place accessory!
Ensuring Communication and Maintaining Nutrition
Part of staying safe as you age is ensuring you have the tools to stay active physically be that walking or a yoga class. In addition to exercising the body, one needs to keep their mind healthy with learning opportunities and games that reinforce memory.
Sometimes when mobility or cognitive function declines formerly easy tasks like cooking, opening jars, or going to the supermarket can feel overwhelming. Keeping up-to-date with the latest services provided in these areas then is essential. This may include hiring some help with meal preparation or learning to cook different meals.
There are options for independent learning as well. Through classes at GetSetUp older adults can learn how to order groceries online or using ride care services like Lyft. GetSetUp’s live interactive classes are a great way for older adults to start learning tools that help facilitate some of the challenges of aging and build a community of their peers. It offers a number of diverse classes like using Zoom or about Instagram to keep in touch with friends and family, which are ways to ensure you have easy contact with your care community to assist you if necessary.
Planning safety to ensure communication and nutrition as you age leads to healthier and happier years. In order to do that effectively focusing on these six steps is necessary.
- Create a Support System — That could be a care team, friends, family, or a combination of these groups who are there to help in times of need. Local agencies or senior centers that offer a variety of services such as transportation, repairs, and errand help can also be useful parts of your local community.
- Get Help with Household Chores — Whether it is ordering groceries to be delivered or hiring someone to help with the yard and cleaning — consider delegating these tasks to maintain energy for things you love.
- Create an Emergency Response Protocol — Decide who and how you will contact people in case of a fall or other illness. Make sure your contact knows your care wishes.
- Make Your Home Smart — Smart homes with internet-connected appliances like Google Home or Alexa provide voice-operated speakers and can be used to make calls in an emergency or if you fall. Plus they are useful to control lighting and thermostat controls.
- Visit the Doctor Regularly — If you are feeling bad or notice changes in your health visit the doctor to assure everything is ok. Preventing diseases is much easier than recovery in most cases.
- Stay Engaged — Staying connected to people, groups, and activities that you love is important to fight off the negative side effects of loneliness and social isolation. Volunteer, join clubs, learn new things, no matter what you love to do — stay engaged with it!
With a little planning and preparation, you can prevent headaches and problems and spend your time enjoying the next phase. And if you need a little extra support in learning these new tools GetSetUp can help with their 1–1 classes that address specific learner needs. Planning and preparing for the next phase has never had so many resources just a click away!