More and more seniors choose to live on their own these days. Living independently can be very good for your mental health, but you need to take steps to prevent accidents in your house and ensure that help can get to you in the event it’s needed:
- Avoid slippery conditions: Make sure floors aren’t slippery. Put down non-slip floor mats in your bathrooms and install safety bars (also known as ‘grab bars’) in bath tubs and showers, and next to toilets. Also install mats at the entry points to your house so floors don’t get slick on rainy and snowy days.
- Remove tripping hazards: Stray electrical cords, rugs that don’t lie flat, and poor lighting are common causes of falls within the home. Make sure your bulbs are the proper wattage and install nightlights to illuminate your floors at night.
- Use a medical alert system:Medical alert systems such as LifeStation provide affordable, one-touch access to emergency personnel. Should you need help, simply press a button on the medical alert bracelet or necklace and you’ll be connected with a trained care specialist through the alert system’s intercom. There’s no need to get to a phone.
- Get to know your neighbors: You don’t have to be best friends, but if you and your neighbors get to know each other, you’re all more likely to notice when something is awry. Include neighbors on your medical alert system’s emergency contact list.
- Test smoke alarms regularly: Your alarms only protect you if they have fresh batteries and are operating properly. Change batteries every six months when you reset your clocks for daylight savings time and standard time.
- Organize a daily check-in: Ask a loved-one or friend to call each day to make sure everything is okay. You can offer to do the same for them. If you don’t have anyone who you can count on to do this reliably, your medical alert system offers a service to check in with you once a day.
- Don’t place items in hard to reach places: Keep the things you need within easy-to-reach. Climbing to get to items in high places is another common cause of falls.
- Put a lock box on your door: A lock box allows family members, friends, trusted neighbors and emergency personnel to access your home when you’re unable to get to the door.
- Keep lists of medications, allergies and personal information in your wallet or purse: This information can be invaluable to emergency medical personnel when they come to your home, especially if you’re unconscious or unable to communicate.
- Take your medical alert system on the road: Your medical alert system is portable. When you travel, take your system with you so you stay protected. Make sure to notify your medical alert provider so they can update your location information.