Many seniors prefer to remain in the homes they are comfortable in rather than move into assisted living facilities. However, if you are a senior planning to age in place as long as possible, you may be dealing with additional challenges that come with age. These may be exacerbated if your home and interior were not initially designed to meet your present needs, and may be less safe than ideal. Here are some guidelines and practices for preventing falls so you can enjoy your home and navigate it safely.
Healthy habits can help minimize risk.
There’s a lot about aging that is beyond your control, but some of these practices can help you stay stronger and safer on your own.
- Stay active – Regular exercise, even light exercise,will help you maintain your balance, strength, and flexibility so you are less likely to fall and better able to catch yourself.
- Get plenty of sleep, if possible, sinceyou’ll be more alert and balanced when you are well-rested.
- Eat nutritiouslyto keep your energy levels up and your bones strong.
Avoid doing things that could jeopardize your sense of balance.
It’s important to be aware of what habits or practices to avoid, to reduce your risk of falling.
- Drinking alcoholcan impair your vision and your balance, and this increases as you age, so consume alcoholic beverages in moderation and with care.
- Similarly, if you are on certain medications, they might make you dizzy or groggy. Beaware of the effects of your medication and move with caution when you are taking them.
- Be cautious about surfaces. Wet bathroom floors and icy sidewalks can be hazardous as you age, and uneven surfaces or stepsmay also be dangerous.
Your clothing can also make a difference.
Dress with safety in mind if you want to enjoy your independence and get around without fear of falling.
- Wear sturdy shoes with good tractionso you aren’t likely to slip.
- Be careful about long trousers or skirts that could get caught underfoot and cause you to trip. Wear comfortable clothingthat allows for a range of movement, but is well hemmed.
Changes to make to your interior design.
You can make some easy changes to your home that will translate into better safety and less risk of falling.
- Make sure all areas of your home are well lighted since trying to navigate in the dark puts you at greater risk – additionally, good lighting can improve your home’s resale value, should you opt to put it on the market.
- See about having handrails installed, especially in slippery areas or in places where you will be getting up and down. A trainedHandyPro craftsman will be able to do this for you safely and professionally.
- See about having non-slip floors put in, or even non-slip mats – but be careful with the latter in case they bunch or if you are using a walker, which could catch on a mat’s edges.
- Keep your rooms tidy and free of clutterso you don’t bump into or trip over objects.
As you age day to day tasks can become more onerous and you may have to be more cautious. However, there’s a lot you can still do and enjoy, on your own. If living independently in your home is important to you, there are ways you can balance your preference for autonomy with certain safety precautions.