Truly enjoying retirement means taking more control over your health and wellness. One of the most impactful ways to do so is to make changes to your house and lifestyle that will help you age in place. So, what does that mean? For seniors and older adults, aging in place is the ability to keep your life as normal as possible without posing increased risks to your health and safety.
That may seem like a major undertaking, but with a few simple changes, you can reduce your risks for falls and other issues while enjoying the life you’ve always loved.
Know That Bathrooms Can Become Dangerous
If you read up on aging-in-place modifications, you will see bathroom safety mentioned again and again. That’s because bathrooms typically involve slick surfaces and moisture that can make those surfaces even slippier. For seniors, this presents an increased hazard for falls, and the hard surfaces can make those falls even more dangerous. If you want to increase the safety of your home, start by preventing bathroom falls. Grab bars are an extremely easy feature to add and can give you added support if you do slip or begin to fall.
If you have a little more time and resources, you can also swap your tub for a walk-in shower, which will benefit those with limited balance and mobility. Another simple fix for those slippery shower surfaces is to use a shower or bath seat. Most are inexpensive and make bathing much more comfortable.
Stay Active and Keep Your Workouts Well-Rounded
Some seniors think that limiting physical activity can limit the risk of fall injuries. However, the truth is that a variety of workouts can actually prevent older adults from falling and reduce the severity of injuries. Cardio workouts, like walking and swimming, are useful for maintaining a healthy weight that preserves balance, while strength training improves muscles tone and bone mass. But these are not the only types of exercise that can help keep you from being injured in a fall.
You also need to practice activities aimed at improving your flexibility and balance. Yoga may be the first workout that comes to mind, but adults over 50 also find tai chi to be a welcome addition to their fitness routine. Tai chi is also perfect for building balance!
Discuss Medications That Could Increase Your Fall Risk
Regular workouts can help you age safely, but regular checkups with your doctor are important for healthy aging too. When you speak with your doctor, be sure to ask about medications that could have an impact on your balance. It makes sense that sleep medications would make balance a little trickier, but many adults do not realize that even over-the-counter antihistamines can cause dizziness and balance disruptions.
Express your concerns about falls to your health care provider, and also be ready to talk about any current balance issues you may be experiencing. Inner ear infections and vertigo can both throw your balance off, and your doctor can help you come up with a treatment plan that will keep you from falling.
Focus on Your Vision and Improving Lighting in Your Home
If you’ve made it this far and taken these tips to heart, you’ve already done so much to help yourself age in place. So, take those efforts one step further by taking your vision into consideration. Most older adults will experience a decrease in vision as they age. It’s completely normal, so be prepared to make changes to your life to make seeing a little easier.
One of those changes that can help reduce your risk of falls is to add smart lighting at home. Smart lighting responds to motion or can be controlled via your phone, which makes adjusting the lights to suit your vision needs so much easier.
Preventing falls is one of the biggest efforts you can make to ensure you are able to age in place safely. Since falls account for the majority of serious injuries among seniors, protecting yourself against them can help improve your health in so many ways.
About The Author
Harry Cline is creator of NewCaregiver.org As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be.
He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.
Harry Cline | firstname.lastname@example.org
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This video is over 1 hour long, but packed with really valuable information in our opinion!!