There are some common-sense strategies that may be implemented that can result in a safer, more healthy home environment for seniors. The aging process presents its own distinct list of challenges, and among these are decreased socialization, safety issues, and a lack of stimulation—which can all contribute to compromises in overall health and well-being. Consider the following suggestions to maintain an independent and gratifying senior lifestyle, or to help others do the same.
One of the sad realities of aging is often the decrease in social situations that can occur. This could be due to physical limitations that can accompany the aging process. Other factors may include living situations, death of friends or partners, or simply a limited social network. Whatever the reasons, facilitating social interactions is an effective measure to take toward sharpening mental faculties, retaining memory, and preserving social skills.
One way to do this is through membership to senior clubs and organizations, which might even be offered in many residential living environments. Group yoga, senior citizen clubs, civic engagement, and even community events such as Bingo games, can be effective ways at expanding social circles for older individuals and providing much-needed interactions with others.
The best way to enhance overall well-being of an older person is to prevent any physical maladies that could result in hospitalization or limit future interactions and activity. Maintaining safety in the home environment for seniors includes reducing the risks of a fall that could consequentially cause hardship and impede overall health and well-being. Some strategies to achieve this might be to utilize the various devices and tools sold in many medical supply venues, such as “reachers,” “grabbers,” and pull-bars. Many times that an older person takes a fall, it is due to them attempting to access something that is out of their reach. These tools make it possible to extend the arm’s reach so the individual isn’t risking their safety by using a step-stool or chair to obtain their desired object or needed items.
Another way to help preserve a safe environment and subsequently maintain health and well-being is to safeguard the home. Remove rugs and other potential hazards that could cause a fall. Keep frequently used items in low cabinets or shelves, and maintain adequate lighting in the home. With a simple assessment of the home, individuals can create a much safer environment for older dwellers.
Staying sharp as a person ages is something that involves daily lifestyle habits. For example, those that read or do crossword puzzles may notice better memory in older age. Prompting memory through stories, photos, and conversation are also good tricks that can help to stimulate the brain.
When memory decline does occur, particularly among those suffering with dementia, the short-term memory is impacted. Longer-term memories may still remain intact. A good strategy to help those coping with this medical condition is to display older photos, news clippings, or other memorabilia which can trigger fond, past memories, allowing the individual to stimulate their brains and tap into their memory.
Another great way to stimulate older people is through pets. Pets make excellent companions and can curb loneliness among those that may live alone, and gives the individual a sense of purpose and responsibility. There have been many studies researching the benefits of animal-assisted therapy models and that show that owning a pet can increase social engagement, improve mood, and induce a sense of fulfillment and well-being.
Helping to maintain the autonomy and health of seniors is something that impacts everyone, regardless of age. Enhancing life through socialization, safety, and stimulation can result in decreased hospitalizations and increased independence which minimizes the need for intervention, whether that be through medical costs and insurance rates or family involvement.