While typically, home is where we feel most secure, as we age and our health changes, it may not be as accommodating of our needs as it could be. And the changes required to make it safer and more accessible may be more of a hassle and an expense than you realize. However, senior living in Somerset County can offer you a solution. Check out the senior living safety features communities like ours provide for your peace of mind.
Hidden dangers of aging at home
Falls are one of the top health risks for seniors. In fact, falls among adults 65 and older caused over 3 million ER visits and over 36,000 deaths in 2020, making it the leading cause of injury death in this group, according to the CDC. The National Institutes of Health also reports that adults 65 and older are 2.6 times more likely to die in a fire than the general U.S. population.
Moreover, the CDC reports that adverse drug events account for approximately 350,000 hospitalizations annually. With the complexities of managing multiple prescription medications each day, as many seniors do, it’s easy to see how mistakes can be made, putting seniors more at risk.
The reasons that injuries from falls, fires, and medication errors are much more common among those 65 and older may include weaker muscles, more brittle bones, slower reaction times, impaired vision and balance, or perhaps even diminished cognitive abilities.
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Improving safety at home for seniors
There are steps you can take to improve safety at home, including the following.
- Reducing the risk of falls: Clear walking paths, add handrails to both sides of the stairs, make sure to have adequate lighting, remove throw rugs, install grab bars and non-slip mats in the bathroom, and avoid standing on step stools or ladders (get a reach stick instead). Also, ensure you have the appropriate mobility devices to help you safely move around the home.
- Practice fire safety: Stay in the kitchen while cooking and avoid wearing loose-fitting clothes. Keep flammable items (dishtowels, paper/plastic bags, curtains) at least three feet from your cooktop and grills 10 feet away from the house, shrubs, or bushes. Avoid space heaters, if possible; otherwise, keep them at least three feet from anything flammable, and always turn them off when leaving the room. Also, inspect your furnace and/or fireplace yearly, check smoke/carbon monoxide detectors semi-annually, and have easily accessible fire extinguishers. Lastly, never leave a room with a candle burning, and don’t overload electrical outlets or extension cords.
- Reducing the risk of medication errors: Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly in addition to reading the package insert. Also, take medications for the full duration of the prescription (even if you feel better), refill prescriptions early to avoid running out, and use pill organizers or apps to keep track of your medications and dosage times.
- Be prepared for emergencies: In addition to 911, have poison control as well as your neighbors’ numbers handy and identify at least two ways to exit your home in case of emergency. Also, consider getting a generator in case of a power outage to keep oxygen and dialysis machines functioning. What’s more, we believe a personal emergency response system (a wearable call button that contacts first responders and/or a friend or family member in an emergency) is a must.
The cost of accessibility
Depending on your needs, modifications may also be needed to make your home more accessible. However, this is often not only a hassle to do but can also be expensive as opposed to the senior living safety features that come standard in communities. For example, according to Angie’s List, these are the average costs of some of the most common modifications to make a home more accessible:
- Adding grab bars and handrails: $100–$500 each
- Interior railings: $1,000 on average
- Cabinet and sink installations: $1,500–$8,500
- Installing non-slip flooring: $3–$22 per square foot
- Installing a stairlift: $1,500–$5,000 each
- Converting to bathrooms and kitchens that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines: $9,000–$40,000
- Widening a doorway: $700–$2,500
- Widening hallways: $30,000–$40,000
- Adding a wheelchair ramp to an existing deck: $1,000–$4,000
- Adding railings: $1,000–$2,500
- Installing a front porch or patio lift: $2,000–$6,000
- Widening paths: $650–$2,000, depending on the length of the path
- Increase outdoor lighting: $2,000–$6,000
- Adding motion sensing lights: $200–$600
Senior living safety features
While the tips and modifications above can improve safety and give you peace of mind at home, it can be a lot to manage in terms of hassle and cost. On the other hand, with senior living in Somerset County, it may be easier to find a sense of safety and security. We focus on senior living safety, which means communities like ours are designed specifically for accessibility and include fire safety features, as well as emergency response systems, grab bars, ramps, and generators.
What’s more, team members are onsite 24/7, and our specialized care programs include medication management. You’ll also have peace of mind that many of our communities offer multiple levels of care on the same campus for added senior living safety and comfort.
Beyond senior living safety, our communities offer plenty of other benefits that can also be harder to come by at home, such as maintenance-free living, a full calendar of social and enrichment opportunities, and a host of resort-like amenities. They make life more convenient and help you make the most out of senior living in Somerset County!
To learn more about senior living safety or your options for senior living in Somerset County, download our Choosing the Right Community Guide today!