Senescence is the gradual decline in body functions associated with aging. It is something that individuals have to deal with at some point in their lives. It is just a matter of time.
The aging population of the world continues to increase. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of American older adults aged 65 years and older is expected to reach 89 million comes 2050.
Needless to say, this statistics has many health implications since aging is a major non-modifiable risk factor for a lot of diseases including dementia, diabetes, heart disease, and atherosclerosis. The steady deterioration of body functions also predisposes seniors to injuries secondary to falling, slipping, and tripping accidents. For these reasons, it is essential to raise public awareness on the importance of ensuring their safety, whether they are living alone or living at home care facilities.
Seniors who prefer to live alone value their independence. Although this is admirable, it also comes with certain safety and security threats. Here are some tips on how you can make the house safer for seniors who live alone:
Keep track of their health
Seniors who live alone are at risk of injuries due to age-related physiologic changes such as brittle bones, weaker muscles, poor eyesight, balance problems, and memory problems. To prevent an injury from happening, take them to regulation consultations with their doctor in order to address the problem.
Maintain a healthy relationship with family and friends
Living alone can predispose seniors to depression. Although depression has multiple causes such as a decline in health status and the loss of loved ones, lack of support from family and friends can likewise increase the risk of this health condition.
By maintaining a healthy relationship with close friends and family members, seniors can feel a strong support system that can boost their morale and well-being.
Make sure they never run out of medication
Running out of medication can be risky, especially for older adults who have to take daily maintenance medications due to health conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. Check their stock of medications and make sure that they have extra pills readily available. You should also check the expiration dates.
Provide them with a first aid kit
Provide them with a handy first aid kit so that they have an immediate source of medical supplies to treat minor injuries. Make sure that basic supplies such as emergency oral medicines, roller bandages, sterile gauze pads, band-aids, elastic bandages, cold packs, and heat packs are available for emergency use.
Basic vital signs equipment are also essential for home-based monitoring, which is highly recommended, such as a blood pressure apparatus, stethoscope, digital thermometer, and pulse oximeter.
Repair damages at home
Repair any damage that can pose risks to seniors who live alone such as damaged wirings, chipped stairs, broken tables and chairs, unstable railings, and uneven flooring. These can lead to fall-related injuries such as fractures and dislocations.
Install security and monitoring devices
Make sure that their doors have peepholes. This is relatively simple but seeing who is on the other side of the door can warn them off potential thieves and scammers who target seniors.
Install additional locks on their doors and windows for extra protection.
Invest in good cameras so that you can monitor anything suspicious that’s happening inside their home even when you’re away.
Keep a list of emergency hotlines
Post a list of emergency hotlines on the wall so that they can readily refer to it in case of an emergency. Make the letters and numbers large and easy-to-read. List the numbers of the nearest hospital, fire department, and poison control department. Include also the number of their family doctor and family members on the list.
Observe fall-prevention measures
According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), roughly 2.8 million fall-related injuries are treated in hospitals every year. Because of this, it is important to observe these fall prevention measures for older adults:
Keep the house well-lighted
Use non-slip rugs
Clear the floor of clutters
Roll up trailing wires
Install grab bars and handheld showers in the bathroom
Add assistive devices in the bedroom such as bed rails
Secure the stairs with railings and banisters
Visit them regularly
This is the best way to ensure the safety, health, and happiness of seniors. Being with them and interacting with them personally can give you hints on problems they might be having. It has been shown that 12% of older adults get poor emotional and social support, making them mentally distressed and exhibit unhealthy behaviors. Having regular visits can significantly improve their mental and emotional well-being.
If you have a senior family member, be reminded that their safety and security is not to be taken lightly. Following these tips can improve their quality of life.