Senior-Friendly Tech Options: Learn the Secrets of Aging Gracefully at Home9 minute read
9 minute read|
Updated for December, 2018
In this day and age, increasing numbers of senior citizens are opting to experience the aging process within their own homes rather than moving to one of the nursing homes located across the nation. Often, nursing homes are unfamiliar locales that can engender feelings of trepidation within the elderly.
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Among the biggest sources of consternation for seniors facing the prospect of moving into a nursing home-type setting are a perceived loss of freedom, a fear of declining communication with friends and family, and a sense of unease about the quality of care they will receive. In a collective rebuke of the traditional notion of moving into a nursing home setting, senior citizens across the nation are partaking in a movement defined by the concepts of exercising autonomy and personal choice, of being self-reliant, and of proudly relishing in the act of taking care of and exacting control over their own lives.
With modern times offering a deluge of senior-friendly tech options with tech support, aging seniors are now more than ever able to safely and securely reside within the comfortable confines of their own home in a confident and self-reliant manner that promotes pride and autonomy. Built specifically with older adult and senior citizen living in mind, there is a vast selection of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and applications available that cater to the health and overall wellness of the elderly.
Smartphones and large touch screen tablets with pre-programmed apps such as medication reminders and laptops come equipped with large buttons, clear interfaces, and easy-to-understand processes while downloadable additional apps can be installed that let friends and family easily check in on their elderly loved one while providing GPS functionality and more.
Among the most popular devices used by senior citizens today are all-in-one style medical alert system devices equipped with large buttons, GPS, fall notifications, and other features that instantly notify family members if the wearer has fallen and experienced injury—friends and family members can’t be there 24/7, after all.
In addition to the many tech options available on today’s market catering to the health, safety, and security of senior citizens are basic yet invaluable strategies that a senior citizen can undertake to create a pleasantly enjoyable in-home living experience that is full of vitality, providing a level of comfort that just can’t be found elsewhere.
Aging gracefully (and safely) at home is a viable choice that requires the implementation of a few basic and simple strategies to create long-lasting comfort and optimal functionality.
Basic Strategies for A Safe At-Home Experience for Seniors
Aging gracefully (and safely) at home is a viable choice that requires the implementation of a few basic and simple strategies to create long-lasting comfort and optimal functionality. Once the decision has been made to live at home, take a meticulously detailed look at your residence.
Starting from the front door and moving inwards, you will want to ensure that there is plenty of space within entryways, foyers, pathways, and more. With age comes declining mobility and a lack of space can exacerbate any mobility issues that may arise. An easy to fix to create an abundance of unencumbered space is removing any unnecessary furniture.
Along with creating plenty of uninhibited space to move around freely and safely, you will want to remove any dangerous elements located on the floors of your home that can result in the risk of slips or falls. Rugs that have a tendency to slide and are not firmly affixed to the floor should be removed, along with floor-situated cords, and anything else that presents the possibility of injury. While considering the above changes, you should also be taking into regard the various items and objects that you use on a daily basis and require easy access.
Create a detailed list of the items that you most often use by taking a walk-through of your home and inspecting the contents of your medicine cabinet, various closets, kitchen and pantry, and more. Your most frequently used items can be easily reorganized or even put into a centralized location that you can easily walk to and access, thus saving you time, frustration, and reducing the possibility of injury by removing the need the strain and stretch to reach certain items.
Among the most important elements in your home is lighting. You will want an abundance of lighting to create a safe environment that is clearly and visibly lit. Well-lit homes automatically reduce the chances of an accident such as a slip or fall occurring and enable you to confidently travel through your house with full visibility and virtually no impediments to movement.
Creating extra sources of lighting need not be costly or cumbersome. Myriad lighting options exist on the market that are senior-friendly in addition to being extremely affordable. Consider portable LED-style light switches that feature magnetic or stick-on functionality for an instant and convenient source of bright light, or easy-to-install light tape that can be placed in nearly any location within a home, such as in bathrooms, on staircases, in cabinets, in hallways, drawers, and much more.
Your bathroom is a critically important location within your home where safety needs to be prioritized. With a bathroom’s smooth floor surfaces, water from baths and showers can create hazardous conditions for seniors to slip, fall, and possibly incur serious injury.
There are a great number of options you can choose from to increase bathroom safety, including—but not limited to—cushioned bathroom tiles, non-slip vinyl material adhesive strips, traction-style peel-and-stick guards, patterned tread-tape, and much more. Non-slip, non-skid bath mats can also be easily added to tubs and showers to decrease the possibility of accidents and create a secure haven to perform all of your bathing needs.
A comfort-height toilet that is perfect for your needs can make going to the bathroom a much easier process, particularly for those that have issues with their joints, knees, and hips. Available in a plethora of heights, these toilets reduce the need to bend your body while going to the bathroom and thus create less strain on the senior body.
Within your bathroom, install affordable grab-style bars that create a safety anchor for you to hold on to during a possible slip or fall or bout of dizziness. These grab bars should be situated throughout your home and not just relegated to the bathroom area. Of paramount importance, grab bars can help you remain upright and provide critically important security.
Other Important Considerations
Do you have trouble opening and closing things such as doorknobs due to arthritis?
Switch out door knobs, hard-to-grasp handles and even troublesome faucets for easy to maneuver levered styles
Is your hearing impaired?
You may want to invest in carbon monoxide detectors, fire and smoke alarms, and even doorbells that incorporate lighting technology to indicate emergencies or notifications you otherwise would not have heard
Are you interested in more advanced adjustments to create a safer environment?
Advanced safety measures can include installing items such as:
walk-in-style bathtub, stairlift, wheelchair ramp, widening doorways, removing steps for outdoor step-less walkways, and keyless front-door entry, replacing cabinetry with pull-out style drawers or glass doors to maximize interior visibility, replacing appliances such as dishwasher and refrigerator with large font, easy-to-read controls including pedestal-style functionality
To maximize the at-home experience, seniors should invest in basic technology and its profusion of benefits.
Tech Strategies for A Safer At-Home Experience
There is an abundance of technology that is geared towards making the lives of senior citizens happier and healthier. Cell phones, tablets, laptops, and more are now constructed with large-font keyboards, brightly-lit displays that are easy to navigate, and easy to use processes that take out most, if not all, of the guesswork involved with typical tech gadgets that display seemingly innumerable options and confusing functions.
To maximize the at-home experience, seniors should invest in basic technology and its profusion of benefits. With a basic and affordable laptop, seniors are able to keep abreast of the latest news, weather reports, and play their favorite games while also keeping in contact with their friends and family. Importantly, many senior-geared laptops come with GPS and other security features that send instant notifications to loved ones in the event of an accident or fall, in addition to automatically notifying 911 that an emergency has occurred.
In addition to a basic laptop, it’s highly recommended that seniors have a cell phone in their possession. Cell phones built for seniors come automatically equipped with options to input critically important medical information, GPS functionality and 911 automatic alerts in the case of an emergency, fall, or injury. Also serving to keep connected to friends and family, a cell phone is a great tool for a senior to ensure personal safety as well as remaining connected to the outside world.
Pendant-style medical alert necklaces are also very wise purchase decisions. In the event that a senior cannot reach their phone or other device to communicate the occurrence of injury or emergency, a simple push on their medical alert pendant can function to save their life in those critical minutes when there is simply no other way to convey to the outside world that an accident has befallen them.
Through the implementation of just a few basic in-home measures and investing in affordable technology, senior citizens can live vibrant lives within the comfort of their own homes. Simple changes such as creating extra lighting, opening up space, and installing affordable grab bars will create an at-home environment that is safe and secure while taking advantage of available technology can serve to augment the at-home aging process by providing peace of mind if and when critical assistance is needed while also helping to create and retain connection with friends, family, and the outside world at large.