Staying safer at home for longer

Tips to help you stay safe at home for longer

As people progress on their personal care journey most individuals choose to stay at home if they possibly can. Initially, this might involve family members giving small amounts of care and support to keep things ticking over. Later, as things progress and individuals might require more help than a loved one can provide, they often use domiciliary care services.

One of the keys to staying at home for longer and having the best possible quality of life lies in maintaining optimum health. Health is unpredictable at the best of times, and even more so in people’s later years.

This article describes some advances in technology that help older people stay safe and mobile at home for longer, whilst spending the least amount of money. It does not go into any detail or make any recommendations but simply suggests some items you may want to consider looking at.

Staying mobile helps you stay home for longer

Mobility is a major factor in maintaining independence and staying at home. Our level of mobility can be impacted by our lifestyles, medical situations, or even medicines or therapies an individual is taking. But these are not the only factors that make a difference, there are also some gadgets and tools that can also have an impact.

Selecting the right shoes (and socks) is one of the most important choices you need to make, and in some cases, you may be entitled to funding to help buy these specialist shoes.  The right footwear provides adequate support and helps guard against trips and falls. The best place to start is by speaking to your GP, specialist nurse, social worker or podiatrist, who will advise you on the types of footwear available and the financial support you may be entitled to.

Mobility-supporting walking sticks, mobile frames and shopping trolleys can also be effective. They may have been around for a long time but that does not reduce their effectiveness or importance in keeping people independent.

When your stick or walker can no longer sustain you, electric wheelchairs or mobility scooters are the next logical step. These are great for older people who are living with more significant mobility challenges. They are small, safe and easy to operate and are specifically designed to help people get out and about. They are fast enough, but not too fast, have a surprisingly small turning circle to get in and out of tight spaces, and you don’t have to pass a test or get a licence to drive one.

Access elderly care at home with handy, inexpensive accessories

Alongside having access to mobility equipment, consider having equipment within the home to make it easier to move around.

Ramps are a simple option to make life easier in the home, and not just if you are using a wheelchair or other waking aid. Shuffling up a gentle incline is easier than climbing up a couple of steps, both inside and outside the house. These can be permanent or temporary, but are surprisingly affordable and can have a big impact. You should always consult an occupational health professional or other expert before making any such changes.

Handrails are about as simple an adaption as you could make; they are cheap to purchase and quick and easy to fit, but can make a huge difference to your quality of life. In some cases, they allow an individual to better use the rooms they already consistently use, and in other cases, a number of well-placed handrails can give access to previously unusable parts of the home.

Shower and bathing aides are also popular options: these can start off simple and inexpensive without the need for costly and invasive construction work. Shower grab rails, shower seats, raised toilet seats, commodes in the bedroom or even downstairs can all help.

Other options include hoists to help get into and out of chairs, bed or the bath. These can be fixed to the ceiling or on wheels in order to move around the home.

More substantial changes to your home

Many people invest in more substantial bathroom adaptations such as swapping a bath for a shower, buying a walk-in-bath, or removing the shower lip so they no longer need to step over it. These can make a big difference, whether individuals are managing on their own or if they are receiving care from a professional agency. In some cases, people go as far as putting in a downstairs bathroom and/or bedroom in to avoid the need for going up and down the stairs.

For those who do not have the capacity to make these downstairs alterations, consider installing a lift or stairlift. These are both quite big purchases with varying degrees of installation disruption, but if they make your life better, they are worth considering. If you are a wheelchair user, consider removing walls and enjoying a more open plan living environment. As always, seek expert advice from more than one source before making an investment.

Again, it is possible that you will be eligible for a grant for some of these adaptions, so speak to your GP or social worker who may be bae to point you in the right direction.

Gadgets that help you stay safe at home

There have been some huge advances in technology recently, many of which can be used to help older people remain independent for longer. There is now a wide range of Smart Home Technology such as Amazon Echo (Alexa) or Google Home that can control a great deal of your home’s services using voice control. Lights, heating, television, calling loved ones and so much more can be turned on and off by asking out loud.

You can arrange video conference calls with doctors, nurses and pharmacists as well as loved ones again all by using widely available Smart Technology. Emergency calls can be made if you have a fall and cannot get back up, providing peace of mind and avoiding the need to remember to wear a pendant.

There is also a wide range of more established items that can help, including both smartphones, simpler mobile phones, and large-button phones. In short, there will be a mobile phone option to suit all needs.

Other investments include smart televisions, TENS machines, massage cushions, hoists and electric mobility chairs and beds, all of which you can discuss with a health professional who will be happy to offer you advice and guidance.