Living an independent lifestyle is important for everyone. However, independence means different things to different people. And it’s mostly related to your age and your life circumstances.
But, no matter how old you are, it’s crucial that you have your independence. That’s why every February is dedicated to Seniors as their Independence Month.
As we get older, it’s sometimes hard to be both independent and safe at the same time. Luckily, we will be sharing a few very useful tips on how seniors can stay independent, but also to making sure that your friends and family know that you’re safe. If you are celebrating Senior Independence Month, keep on reading. And even if you don’t, these tips can help you help any seniors around you.
Tips #1 – Safety is key!
A lot of seniors decide to age in place (their home). Now, as a senior, you won’t be able to do a lot of the work and heavy lifting around the house so it’s best to plan ahead. This will set both you and your friends / family at ease. First and foremost, you need to focus on your safety in and around the house. If you have some home improvements and repair to do, do them on time. Things like a loose railing on the stairs can be a real safety hazard. After that, you can focus on specific rooms in the house. You can, for example, install safety bars in the shower / bathtub or around the toilet. This is particularly useful because in case you slip you will always have something to grab onto and avoid falling down. Falling down as a young person or even as a middle age person is not fun. The same applies (and even more so) to seniors. Take good care of yourself and prevent any accidents before they happen. If you have limited mobility, you could even install a lift on your stairs. Just something to think about.
Now we could go on and on about various safety measures you can take, but let’s point out the most important ones:
- The battery in your smoke detector needs to be checked (and replaced) annually.
- Use backing tape on your carpets or rugs so they don’t slip under your feet.
- Make sure that the hallways of your house are well-lit.
- Keep the phone in rooms where you spend most time.
- Most important and emergency phone numbers should be next to your phone.
- Flashlights should be nearby in case of power outage.
Tip #2 – Say NO to clutter
A house that has stuff all over can be both unsafe and unsanitary. Furthermore, it’s more difficult to navigate when you have to jump over things in order to get to the next room. This is very important in case emergency services need to help you. This Senior Independence Month could be about organizing and tidying up.
If you can make sure that everything in the house is easy to reach and that you keep the most common use items (let’s say in the kitchen) on the lower shelves. Keep things as close as possible for maximum efficiency. For example, don’t keep the fire extinguisher in the other part of the house. Instead, keep it near the kitchen. Your medicine cabinet especially needs to be well organized. Make sure that you keep an accurate list of prescribed and over-the-counter medication and that your doctor is well informed about the medication you take.
Organizing can be a big pain. Even younger adults don’t want to do it. It takes too much time and it’s just not fun. You can try and organize your things on your own, but if you can’t there are professional organizers that can help you out with this. It’s no shame to admit that you need help. Everyone does, at times.
Tip #3 – Technology is your fried, not your enemy
Yes, we understand that senior aren’t tech savvy as younger generations and millennials. But, that shouldn’t discourage you. Everyone has a different learning speed and with enough effort, time and patients you can too master those modern day communication gadgets.
Technology can really boost your independence. Modern day phones and tablets can make your senior years a lot easier AND they can help you stay connected with long lost friend or with family that lives in another city or state. So thanks to FaceTime, Skype and other communication apps you can stay connected and see your friends/family and not just for the holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving.
Furthermore, technology can be a real ‘game changer’ in emergency situations. Some companies even go so far, that hey design tech specifically for seniors so they are extremely useful and user-friendly. So be bold and try new things.
Senior Independence Month should be about making positive changes in your life and planning ahead with a focus on keeping your independence as much as possible. So if your own or your loved one’s independence is a priority, a lot of senior community centers have programs that are specifically tailored for this. These program provide the right amount of assistance and support, but they are in no way intrusive.