What about independent living is so appealing to seniors?
Today’s seniors are so active and involved with their families, friends, hobbies and so on…the thought of living anywhere other than their own home is highly unappealing. Studies show that aging at home has significant psychological, physical, and financial benefits for both seniors and their families. Hospital recovery times are shorter when the patient can recover in their own home compared to anywhere else. So naturally, most folks want to remain independent and continue to live in their own home for as long as possible.
How can seniors adapt their homes to make independent living a more practical option?
As folks age, it’s important to make the home accommodate their needs. There are many changes that can be made to the home that are easy and inexpensive, but can have a huge impact. At Medical Care Alert, we recommend that our clients make some of these simple changes to help prevent falls and make the home better suited for their situation:
- Replace door knobs with door lever handles – easier for arthritic hands
- Replace flimsy bathroom towel racks with strudy grab bars
- Install motion sensor LED lights in the bathroom, hallways, staircases and other appropriate places
- Replace the toilet with a taller one
- Remove scatter rugs, extension cords, extraneous furniture that could cause a trip or fall hazard
- Install safety strips in the shower/bath, and a removable shower head.
- See our full list of bathroom safety tips on the info-graphic on our website.
Sturdy Bathroom grab bars are an important safety feature for seniors.
What are the biggest risks to seniors at home?
The biggest risk to seniors at home is the risk of falling and not being found for hours or days. The Center For Disease Control (CDC) states that 1/3 of seniors over 65 years old will fall in their own home each year. So it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when. The risk of falling and not being found for hours becomes especially troublesome if the person is injured and cannot move or get up. In these cases, the senior can become anxious, dehydrated, scared, and risk creating slow healing bruises or injuries. We offer a free guide to preventing falls in the home on our website.
How can seniors and their caretakers reduce these risks?
To reduce the risk of falling, seniors and caretakers should closely look at the risk factors in the home that could lead to a fall and make those corrections. The list above is just a start – there are many additional areas both inside and outside of the home where simple changes or rearragning things can eliminate hazzards. A medical alert system can also help by increasing the senior’s awareness of the dangers of falling, and by giving them access to help in the event of a fall or other situation.
When should seniors consider getting a medical alert system?
Seniors and their families should consider a medical alert system when:
- They are a surviving spouse and will be living alone
- They will be at home alone for long periods of time without visitors or contacts
- They have a history of falling, or any medical situation that could cause dizziness, disorientation, vertigo, siezures, blackouts, etc.
- They want peace of mind knowing that help is just a push of a button away – and don’t have to fumble cell phones or other means of communication in the event of a fall or other emergency
How do they work?
Medical alert systems are very simple to own and operate, and new features and technology makes them far superior to the old “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” days.
All medical alert systems consist of a waterproof button worn by the user, which communicates with our emergency response center. The waterproof button can be worn in the shower, where most falls occur. In an emergency, the user presses the button to contact the emergency response center. Once connected, an EMT-certified operator will know who and where you are, and ask if you are OK. Depending on the response, the operator will either call a neighbor or family member, or call emergency services if required.
Modern medical alert systems can include features like automatic fall detection, GPS location services, cellular communication, and 2-way voice pendants that can go outside or anywhere in the USA.
What are the benefits?HOME & AWAY ELITE Mobile Medical Alert System with GPS
For around $1 a day, a medical alert system provides a tremendous service and peace of mind for the entire family. There is no price you can put on the independence achieved by living independently at home, knowing you can get help easily in an emergency. We see the types of emergencies people use their button for, and we know we are saving lives every day. In addition to falls, we get calls for blood pressure and blood sugar swings, severe stomach and flu issues, breathing situations, strokes, and intruders.
What are your favorite resources or tools for seniors who want to live independently?
We are a proud sponsor of the Better Business Bureau “Senior Scene” program which helps seniors to avoid telemarketing scams and other rip-offs that plague elderly victims. We also publish a blog called “Thrive!” which features ideas on independent living.