Are you or someone you love a senior? Help by supporting independence and taking strides to facilitate safety and autonomy in the senior’s home environment. From implementing mobility aids and equipment to enlisting the help of in-home care and services, there are many things that you can do to support aging in place.
One of the biggest worries of older individuals is a loss of freedom and independence. Prioritize maintaining autonomy and support aging in place so that you or your loved one can stay in their own home and live life according to their own wishes. One way that you can help out is to encourage mobility aids that improve access and support autonomy. More on that later!
Five ways to help a senior loved one maintain independence are:
You can support aging in place by making sure the home environment is a safe one for your senior. This includes taking an inventory of the home surroundings to ensure there are no safety risks or hazards. Consider these issues, which can be easily resolved.
- Help them declutter and get rid of anything that could present a fall risk. Keep a clear pathway throughout the home for access.
- Enhance and maintain lighting all through the living environment- but especially at the top and bottom of stairs and steps.
- Check out adaptive utensils and implements that may make cooking, food prep, and everyday tasks much easier. Look at ways to improve convenience around the kitchen.
- Get a reaching tool for your loved one to make easy work of accessing out-of-reach items or objects. These are inexpensive and easy to use, found widely at mobility retail venues.
If you have concerns about your loved one’s safety, voice them. There are also area agencies on aging in most communities that offer services and resources to improve safety around the homes of seniors at little or no cost. This might include basic home repair grants or emergency resources to help pay for fuel or heating bills. Looking out for your loved ones doesn’t compromise their autonomy, it helps to put safety first.
Implement Mobility Aids
Visit a qualified retailer and implement mobility aids around the home for your loved one. This may include things like grab bars near the toilet and sink, as well as a shower seat or tub chair for ease in the bath. If your senior would benefit from the freedom a stairlift could provide, investigate it further! These can also be installed in outdoor spaces to allow for freedom outside as well as inside the individual’s home.
Always invest in mobility equipment from qualified retailers. This way you are assured of a warranty and service after the sale. Always opt for professional installation, too. Letting laymen install or repair your equipment, like a lift, for example, can nullify any warranty in some instances.
Enlist In-Home Care
Why not enlist some in-home care to help support your senior’s independence? This doesn’t have to be a skilled nurse if your loved one’s needs do not warrant it you could simply pay for an errand service or a few hours of companionship and company each week. Make sure that your loved one is receptive to the idea of people coming to their home and respect their wishes, first and foremost.
It is an amazing era that we are in, particularly in regard to technology. It is possible to implement technology that can help you check in and keep your independent loved one safe and secure. From doorbell security cams and smartphones to face timing with providers and life-alert systems, the technological options can help provide peace of mind when your loved one is living alone. Do your best to keep your loved one current and active on as much technology as you can muster. Make sure they are equipped with cell service and wi-fi, too!
It has been touched on, but perhaps the most important way to support your senior’s independence is to respect their choices. If you disagree with their decisions or feel that they are not safe, offer alternatives and other approaches rather than assert control over the situation. Seniors that lose their ability to live life on their own terms often wither. Always be proactive and resourceful rather than bossy and reproachful.
February is National Senior Independence Month, which means it is the perfect time to address the needs of seniors when it comes to maintaining independence. Advocate for support as needed, and always put safety first.
Use these tips to create a safer environment for a loved one or yourself! Independence can be closely connected to accessibility, impacting holistic health and wellbeing- talk to the professionals at Pacific Mobility to learn more!
President, Husband, Father, Grandfather Graduate of UC Davis- Bio Sci Major- Go Aggies! Jeff has extensive experience in all of Pacific Mobility’s products and services, and specializes in accessibility products as well as stairlifts, ceiling lifts and custom wheel chairs. His hobbies include spending time with family, gardening, mountain biking, exercising and off road motorcycle riding.
24 years as Owner/President of Pacific Mobility Center – selling, installing, and servicing stairlifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts, pool lifts, handicap ramping, specialty wheelchairs, scooters, power wheel chairs, and other power mobility devices
Certified Environmental Access Consultant since 2008
Licensed General Contractor since 1998
Certified Aging in Place Specialist since 2016
Board Member for Home Access Professionals
Member of Association of Members of the Accessibility Equipment Industry (AEMA)