So it is decision time. You have decided that a retirement village is nice and works for some, but it is just not for you. Now is the time to sort out your home and make it the best possible place for you to age safely and comfortably for as long as possible.
My Grandfather grew old at home and my Mum plans to do the same. My neighbour, however had a fall and broke his hip. He left his home years earlier than if he had just had slightly better luck.
You may not feel like it, indeed, you may not yet need to, but it is time to make some luck for yourself.
The easiest time to make yourself luck is early.
As you age, you will find that you can (to some extent) buy luck. Some of the below steps will cost money, but think about the cost of moving urgently or spending time in hospital.
Even if you can’t sort them all, you have a better chance of staying in your home potentially years longer.
Still need motivation?
- Falls account for 70% of accidental deaths in persons 75+ years of age.
- At 65, elderly people have a 33% of a severe fall each year.
- At 80, you have a 50% chance of a severe fall each year.
- In the US, 2.5 million elderly people are treated for serious fall injuries.
This post is a bit heavy on products to buy, but the fact is that safety costs and it is better to spend a few hundred dollars early on fall prevention than have even a single accident.
Throw Out Your High Heels
This is an easy one, just get rid of them all to avoid temptation. Bones mend too slow after 65.
Start Thinking if Your Current House is Really the Right House for the Next 5, 10 or 20 Years
Moving house is a huge decision, so you need to think about it for a while. You will live longer in a house without stairs or steep inclines. If the bathroom is well designed and can be fitted with hand rails, you will reduce the likelihood of an accident.
If you are planning on downsizing at some point, think about doing it early.
Do not compromise on stairs. One step is the maximum because you can ramp 1 step but no steps is better.
Other things you want to have is public transport and local shops.
Buy Yourself a Pendant Alert System.
There are a number of different pendant alert systems. This one is a basic model, but excellent. Set it up so it calls 5 people if you have a fall or need help.
Organize a Place for Everything
Put a hook like these on the wall near your front door, one near your bed and one next to the shower so you know your emergency pendant will be in 1 of those places if you are not wearing it. these hooks have removable sticky, so you can move them if you need to without ruining your paint.
Find a place for everything in your house.
Get into the Habit of Using a Diary.
One day, you will thank the day you got into the habit of always carrying and using a diary. Write in every appointment. The main thing is to get one that you can carry with you. Get used to a pocket diary. There is plenty of room for keeping track of things. Other diaries are too large to carry everywhere.
Clear out all Your High Cupboards
Remove temptation. You should have nothing that is too high to reach. Climbing ladders or steps when you are above 65 is simply a risk you don’t need. Empty your high cupboards and leave them empty.
Remove all Your Rugs
You don’t need rugs. If you want a floor covering, install carpet – a great fall prevention measure.
Get an External Lock Box for Your Spare Key
Set the code and let 2-3 people in your close family or perhaps a good neighbour know either the code or how to get the code in an emergency.
Go Through your House and Garden and Remove Trip Hazards
Trips and falls are a major problem for the elderly. Bite the bullet and get rid of them.
- Look for and remove cords
- Look for stones or shrubs encroaching on paths
- Consider slippery parts of your house for example tiles that sometimes get wet, polished wood, etc.
- Look for cracks and get them repaired
Install Non-Slip Shower and Bath Mats
The fewer things you have around, the easier your life will be. Make sure that of you are storing things belonging to your family, they go back to them.
Get into the Habit of Hanging up Your Bath Mat After Use
Good habits increase safety as much as having the right equipment.
Decide from Now that there are Other People Able to Lift Heavy Things
There are several things to keep in mind when lifting as an elderly person.
- Firstly your back and bones. Elderly bones take longer to heal
- Next twisting while carrying can be disastrous for your back
- Next, lifting anything while you are alone is simply not a good idea.
Ask for help and gratefully accept help offered.
Do a Lighting Assessment
If any area in or around your house is too dim, then fix it. Install brighter globes or install additional lights.
Look After Your Feet
This is a strange one, but feet can become troublesome as you age. They are extremely important in keeping you stable, so you need to take special care of elderly feet.
- Ensure you have comfortable shoes. Well fitting and secure with good grip. Make sure they breathe.
- Be aware if any particular foods tend to give you swollen ankles. Examples include Tomatoes (gout). Salt, dairy, eggs or soy can also be contributors for some people
- Spend 30 seconds each morning wriggling your toes and moving your feet and ankles before you get up.
- Pay attention to how you walk. Ensure you are not at risk of tripping by dragging your feet. Get some advice if you need.
- Take note of how your feet normally look and watch for signs of change including burning, fluid retention, change in colour, problems with your nails, numbness, pain, fungal infections, etc.
Your feet are loyal workhorses and need to be looked after. 75% of people suffer from common foot problems over their lifetime and this increases with age.
If you have problems with your feet, get medical attention immediately. Problems with your feet lead directly to increased chances of trips and falls.
Regular exercise directly helps with fall prevention and general health. Focus on the large muscles and include some balance exercises.