The number of Americans who first grew up with rock ‘n’ roll, astronauts and McDonald’s is off the charts. The late 1940s through early 1960s were marked by a boom in the U.S. economy, suburban living and, especially, babies. Lots of babies were born during this time period—some 76.4 million notes the U.S. Census Bureau. These boys and girls who lived through the Cold War and cold cuts on Wonder Bread® are now aging individuals who almost all agree on one thing: living in their own home later in life. Nearly 90 percent of the nation’s aging baby boomers want to age in place.
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) reports that 75 percent of adult children and 69 percent of the parents think about the parents’ ability to live independently as they get older. But how will these aging seniors remain comfortable and safe at home? What proactive steps can help safeguard everyday activities for older adults inside and outside the home?
“As loved ones age, certain conditions like visual changes and weaker muscles can affect balance, or some diseases and medications can cause cognitive issues,” Cathy Queen, RN Owner of the Right at Home of the Rivercities. “When seniors face health concerns as a result of aging, their risk of falls and injuries escalates, and sometimes their home itself is hazardous. This is why it’s essential to assess regularly a senior’s health and anything in the home that might be a safety concern.”
To reduce potential home hazards for older adults, Queen recommends the free Aging-in-Place Guide developed by Right at Home with Dr. Rein Tideiksaar, a leading gerontologist and geriatric physician assistant who specializes in fall prevention for the elderly. The Aging-in-Place Guide helps senior adults and their families spot home safety concerns and create an individualized plan around the elder’s functional abilities, including getting out of bed and bathing. The guide includes a checklist of risks for home accidents and tips for making a home safe again if health or environmental factors arise.
The safety solutions can be as simple as adding brighter lightbulbs and more light fixtures to solve inadequate lighting. Adding carpet tape can smooth out curled carpet edges. For more extensive fixes, the guide outlines home modifications and remodeling such as installing bathroom grab bars, widening doorways and enlarging rooms.
The Right at Home resource also highlights home-monitoring technology that is becoming more user-
friendly and affordable to protect seniors at home and provide families with greater peace of mind. These secure-at-home options include updating the home with smart auto-set devices to simplify daily tasks such as opening or securing windows and doors, turning off appliances, and lowering countertops and shelves. Typically, older adults accept only two or three modifications to their home at a time, so Queen advises that families create a priority list and together work from that.
“Sometimes, a simple adjustment like removing clutter from pathways or changing out hard-to-grasp doorknobs with handles is an easy fix and all that is needed to protect a senior at home,” said Queen. “The Aging-in-Place Guide identifies specific home hazards and clear-cut solutions. It’s also important to include the elders in health and home safety conversations and to give them a choice of the best living space options. With the right planning, living enjoyably and safely at home is fully possible for most of America’s seniors.”
For more information about home safety for older adults and to receive a copy of the Aging-in-Place Guide, contact Right at Home at 304-453-4663.
About Right at Home of the Rivercities
The Rivercities office of Right at Home is a locally owned and operated franchise office of Right at Home, LLC, serving the communities of the Tri-State for over nine years. We directly employ and supervise all caregiving staff, each of whom is thoroughly screened, trained, and bonded/insured prior to entering a client’s home. Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care and assistance to seniors and adults with a disability who want to continue to live independently. For more information, contact Right at Home of the Rivercities at www.rahrivercities.com, 304-453-4663 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org For more information on Right at Home, visit About Right at Home at http://www.rightathome.net/about-us or read the Right at Home caregiving blog at http://www.rightathome.net/blog. To sign up for Right at Home’s free adult caregiving e-newsletter, Caring Right at Home, visit http://caringnews.com