Nobody likes to think of themselves or their loved ones as needing extra support in later life, but it’s a very natural process of growing older. Therefore, it’s good to be prepared.
One of the first steps is making adaptations around the home. By altering your home to meet your needs, you will not only be safer, but your mental health will be better. According to an Age UK survey of the elderly, 37% said making changes made them feel more confident in the home and less worried about risks.
A few simple measures can help to live independently at home, more safely and comfortably.
1. Grab Rails Galore
If you’re a little unsteady or get more tired these days, you can invite a company around to advise you on grab rails and how they can help you get up and down stairs or outside steps to the property. Bathrooms and doorways are other potential hazards where rails can help minimise risk of falling or tripping.
2. Advice all the way…
If you’re finding washing more of a struggle or going up and down stairs several times a day exhausting, or worse dangerous, consider getting some free friendly, knowledgeable advice from a specialist like Age UK Mobility. They come out to assess your needs at home or can even provide this service without any physical contact. Their solutions include stair or home lifts and ways to enjoy bathing or showering again more safely and independently.
3. Make some space
If you use a wheelchair, frame or walking stick to get around, a simple way to make life easier and safer is to declutter the floor space to make a wide enough area for manoeuvring. Door frames may need to be made wider and even home extensions might be considered. Will you need a ramp to access your front door? These are all options a local council can assess and perhaps support.
4. Let there be light
Install clever little motion censored lights that come on when you enter a room or get out of bed at night, to help avoid accidents in darkness.
5. Go go gadget!
There are also sorts of simple and low-cost gadgets available that help to stay more independent in the kitchen, like kettle tippers and two-handled cups. When it comes to dressing, consider extra-long shoehorns and gadgets for putting on tights for example.
6. Thinking ahead
If hearing or eyesight are deteriorating, there are sensory impairment teams that can offer advice specific to your needs. You can help yourself too, by keeping curtains open to maximise natural daylight and putting bright tape on edges and trip hazards. Have a handyman check for trip hazards. For the hard of hearing, technology has many solutions for doorbells, telephones and even smoke alarms.
7. You can never be too careful…
Consider a personal alarm if you live on your own and you and your family are worried about you falling at home.
If you feel like you or a loved one would benefit from any of the above, the first step is to contact the social services department of your local council. They should offer you a free care needs assessment, no matter what your savings, income or age, give you free advice and let you know if you’re entitled to any financial support.