Friday, January 20, 2012

Home Safety For Aging In Place

The concept of aging makes many of us think about losing independence and moving to reliance on others.  This is no longer the case with increased age in place modifications to provide home safety for seniors and limited mobility, disabled, individuals.  Although nursing homes still exist it is not the idea that first flashes into the mind of aging seniors.  Independence, freedom and safety are all visions sought out and ideally funded on the principal of living in one’s home.  As caregivers it is important to grant independence to the loved ones we cherish while peace of mind is kept that the environment is safe and accessible for them.
Home modifications are best complete in progression with the age and needs of the clients.  We can all agree that the needs of a sixty-five year old senior are different from those of a one that is eighty-five.  It is also important to recognize limitations within each individual in response to mobility and ones abilities.  Home safety modifications are just the start to aging in place.  It is also important to ensure that basic independent living skills are still properly being administered for your loved ones to not only stay safe but healthy.
One major issue that comes to mind is self-care.  If an individual wishes to remain living independently they must be able to take care of their basic health needs.  Hygiene, restroom usage and bathing all become a bigger effort for aging individuals but one that is of utmost importance.  It is crucial to be able to care for one s self. 
Another important matter is to discuss and deal with money matters.  They must still be empowered financially as it does take money to run a household.  Utilities will need to be paid and it is important that they are able to independently take care of this task to age in place.  It is important that they understand their banking statements, how to write a check and manage expenses.  
Home skills are important as well.  Independent living entails one to be able to cook, clean and do laundry tasks.  Basic home management skills are critical to independent living.  Functions such as turning the stove off after a meal is prepared become a matter of safety and needs to still be able to be taken care of by the individuals. 
Health care issues should be able to be met as well.  To independently live on one’s own they should be able to properly take medication, make and keep doctor’s appointments, even with the use of public transportation if needed, and be knowledgeable of their medical needs.  It is important that individuals know their insurance coverage and are able to retain the information making educated decisions about treatment needs. 
Another area in home safety is not necessarily the modifications but the same as with young children; strangers and the need for secure information.   Independent living means knowing the dangers of telemarketing, home shopping channels and people coming to the door.  It is also important that they are able to get a hold of people in an emergency and that they are clearly able to speak their needs and where they are located.
The desire is for seniors and those facing challenges in the form of a disability to care for them independently and age in a safe, familiar place – home.  Keeping the freedoms that exist within the home environment is important and necessary to many.  As caregivers we like to keep their wants and desires in mind while maintaining safety.

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