There are many ways to stay safe and healthy as we age. Most people’s plans to stay healthy in retirement might focus on maintaining a good diet and regular exercise. But when it comes to staying safe, many precautions fall short. For National Safety Month, consider how you can make your home a safer place.
A person’s home is often the place they feel safest. However, accidents in U.S. homes account for 20 million trips to the hospital, 7 million serious injuries, and 20,000 deaths each year. A false sense of security and lax safety standards can be dangerous contributing factors. The effects of aging on physical and mental health add another layer of risk. Luckily, there are many things that seniors can do to stay safe at home.
Seniors Face Many Risk Factors
Aging can have many effects on a person’s ability to stay safe. As a person gets older their muscle mass and sense of balance declines. A decline in balance is the third biggest risk factor for a serious fall. After the age of 30, adults lose between three and eight percent of their muscle mass per decade. This condition is known as sarcopenia. Approximately 20 percent of independently-living adults over the age of 70, and over 50 percent of those over the age of 80, suffer from this condition.
Loss of eyesight is also a concern. One-third of people over the age of 65 have some form of vision impairment. Some vision loss may be initially asymptomatic, which makes vision check-ups important. With weakening eyesight, accidents — either in or out of the home — become more likely.
Accidents that do happen have a greater impact on the elderly. As a result of reduced skin elasticity, older adults often take longer to recover from wounds. A delayed inflammatory response also makes the healing process slower. Reduced bone density means a higher likelihood of fractures in the elderly. 70 percent of bone fractures occur in people over 65 years of age. This can seriously worsen the impact of falls, which are a severe concern for all seniors. One in every three older adults fall each year, and between 10 and 20 percent of those falls result in serious injuries.
Luckily, there are ways to compensate for these factors. Studies have shown that exercise can help speed up wound healing. There are also several treatments available for osteoporosis. However, the best treatment for an accident is to avoid it happening entirely. Making your home as safe a place as possible is a good place to start.
Take Simple Precautions For Safety
A task such as standing on a stool to water a hanging basket might seem like another mindless chore. But everyday activities can be especially risky because they seem so mundane. Slicing onions for dinner, changing a lightbulb, or taking a pie out of the oven all run the risk of causing cuts, falls, and burns.
Of course any task can be fraught with peril, and these are all dangers worth facing in order to live a happy life. Identifying potential risks and taking steps to reduce them is key. Even small steps, such as buying pre-chopped vegetables, can reduce the chance of getting a nasty cut.
Most seniors prefer to remain in their homes as they age. However, very few of us might think of searching for a home in our younger years with an eye towards aging in place. As such, many aging adults end up in houses that may not be designed with senior safety in mind. They may have steep staircases or narrow hallways which restrict mobility devices. While a total remodel isn’t an option for everyone, small steps such as removing tripping hazards and limiting most activities to one floor of the house can help.
It’s important to remain aware of potential safety hazards around the home. However, it’s better to foster a sense of security than a sense of constant danger. Many seniors reduce their activities after having a fall because they fear it could happen again. This can reduce quality of life. Taking small, common-sense measures early on to prevent accidents before they happen can help you live life to the fullest, and safest.
Having an in-home caregiver is another way to provide more confidence in your safety. From helping with potentially risky chores or keeping an eye out for potential hazards, Generations Home Care is here for your peace of mind.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.