Owning a home and living alone or with a spouse comes with many safety concerns, especially for senior citizens who are more susceptible to accidents like falling which can leave them unable to call for help.
Not only can living alone lead to more injuries, it can also lead to some mental side effects. For example, an individual is living completely alone and without a spouse, can cause some depressive episodes and social isolation.
However, there are certain preventative measures that one can take to avoid being put in a situation that can potentially life-threatening. Following some of these simple guidelines could make the environment much safer for you or your loved one.
Being sure that the living area is properly lit can be one of the easiest and most effective ways to avoid injury. It’s easy for anyone to misstep when walking around the house, the chance may be increased for senior citizens as eyesight wears and as darkness has an increased effect on sight. Installing lights on staircases, walkways and other hazardous areas can ensure that tripping or falling happens less often. Making sure that the residence is clean and free of clutter can also help reduce falls in the house or apartment.
Being sure that the electrical system of a home or apartment is up to date can help to prevent fires. Similarly, reviewing equipment like smoke alarms and CO2 detectors are easy preemptive steps that can be taken to ensure a safe home.
It is recommended that home smoke alarms should be checked once a month and batteries should be changed regularly as to not run out.
Checking cords, outlets and switches for damage and not using electrical devices that have exposed wiring or signs of burning can help prevent dangerous electrical hazards. Using electrical cords that run under rugs or carpets can be dangerous as the pose a tripping risk.
Accessibility and Home Modifications
Everyone knows that mobility decreases as people age and while this can affect life when you’re out and about, if the home living area is not adjusted for a different style of living it can cause problems.
One tip is to remove unnecessary furniture from areas like the entryway and the living room to avoid obtrusive objects that may cause confusion and falls. Widening doorways, if necessary is a good way to keep movement easy.
If the residence has stairs, it may be beneficial to get a stair lift installed so that you or your loved one doesn’t have to worry about tripping trying to go to the second floor.
Bathrooms should have grab bars and a skid-proof tub installed to avoid falls while bathing. Getting a walk-in tub is another way to decrease chances of injury. Removing the lock on the bathroom should also be considered. If an injury does occur in the bathroom and a locked door is in the way, it can take more time to reach your loved one which can cause more damage to their body.
Tiny investments for renovations like the ones mentioned above can go a long way to prevent a hospital visit.
According to the Institute on Aging, of the older adults who weren’t living in nursing homes or hospitals, nearly a third of them, or 11.3 million individuals, lived alone. While living alone can provide a sense of independence, it is sometimes better to swallow this sense of pride and enlist some help as living alone, especially for older individuals can not only help prevent physical injuries but can also take some weight off the shoulders of a loved one as it will make living less burdensome.
Senior citizens that have eyesight problems will experience problems conducted basic house tasks such as laundry or changing a television channel.
Illnesses can also get worse for senior citizens who are living alone. Having nobody to care for them as they have to continue to perform tasks around the house can deteriorate their health more quickly.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, some individuals living alone will suffer from some mental disorders like depression and anxiety. Both of these things can come from a lack of social interaction and increased isolation.
According to a study published by the University College London, social isolation can actually lead to shorter lives for elderly men and women. Social isolation doesn’t just affect mental health but can increase your risk of heart disease, cognitive deterioration and lead to other physical health risks.
Social isolation is also likely to lead to depression and anxiety that can be especially debilitating for a senior citizen. Depression can go unchecked if living alone and can create a snowball effect with the problem. Individuals who suffer from anxiety can affect their daily living by causing insomnia, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, dry mouth and nausea.
While it is safer for a senior citizen to live with a caregiver of in a nursing home, it may be a difficult situation to bring up to your aging parent. But there are a few tips you can follow to help get through this uncomfortable conversations.
For example, educating yourself to answer questions or clarify any misconceptions that they have can go a long way in explaining how beneficial a senior living center or hiring a caregiver could be. You should also be prepared for rejection, but don’t be discouraged revisiting the conversation at a later time is always a possibility.
Having an aging loved one living at home alone can be a dangerous situation that can lead to disastrous consequences. With an assisted living facility, seniors can receive the care they need while socializing with fellow residents. Protecting your family member or relative as they begin to age is important and enrolling them in senior living facility may be beneficial. If you’re ready, have the conversation with your loved one about how senior living can drastically improve and enrich their life.