Independence is important to all of us, and it is a big consideration for seniors as they age. Balancing independence with safety is the key to seniors staying independent as long as possible, and these tips can help to support a high quality of life in the process:
Remind Seniors About the Risks
Unfortunately, seniors can be prime targets for scams and identity theft as they get older. While being sweet and trusting makes them loveable, it can also make them vulnerable.
• Remind your aging parent or loved one never to give out personal information such as social security numbers, banking information or credit card numbers.
• Consider providing them with a lockable mailbox so that outsiders cannot steal their mail.
• If they use social media, remind them not to get “too personal” with what they share online.
Is their home conducive to safe living as they age? Take into consideration any disabilities, limitations or illnesses they have and make adjustments to their home accordingly:
• Use non-slip paint or mats on porches and in potentially slippery areas of the home.
• Install grab bars in the bathroom — in the shower and near the toilet.
• Rearrange the kitchen so that the most-used items are within easy reach.
Take extra measures to ensure that their home does not look inviting to intruders.
• First floor windows should have locks and should always be locked at night. Trim away excess brush from these windows so that thieves cannot use them as a place to hide.
• Invest in a home security system that monitors for break-ins and fire.
• Have them get a pet dog as a deterrent (a dog can also provide valuable companionship.)
Seniors living independently at home are at risk for accidents, the sudden onset of an illness, medical condition or a slip-and-fall. There is a “Golden Hour“effect at play, which means that seniors who get care within one hour after falling have an 80% chance at a complete recovery. If care takes longer than one hour to arrive, the odds of recovery slip very quickly.
One of the best ways to ensure that help will arrive within the Golden Hour is by providing seniors with a medical alert service. A small bracelet or pendant will signal for immediate medical help if they trigger the device or if distress is detected.
Staying independent as long as possible should be balanced out with key safety considerations, and these tips can help keep your loved one safe at home.