The Independent Life – Tips for Elderly Folks Living on Their Own
You will be the first to admit that you are getting on in your years, but you’re certainly not ready to go live in a home for the elderly. You may be old, but you are still capable of caring for yourself and living independently. You hate the idea of having someone look after you, so it’s the independent life for you.
Many seniors live with their partners or on their own until very late in life, taking care of themselves and staying safe. In fact, taking care of yourself can be very good for your mental health and can keep you feeling and acting younger. However, if you are going to live alone you will need to take certain precautions to prevent accidents in your home and make sure that you can get help if it is needed.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when you are living on your own:
Reduce Slippery Surfaces
A slippery surface can be very dangerous, especially when you have limited mobility. Put down a non-slip floor mat in your bathtub and install a grab bar so that you can keep your balance when getting in or out of the bath. You can also add a mat by your door, so that when snow or rain gets tracked in your floors won’t get slippery.
Anticipate Potential Falling Hazards
Take a look around your house and spot any potential risks that could cause you to fall, such as an electrical cord across the floor, a bump in the rug, lots of clutter on the floor, etc. You should also make sure that your floors are properly illuminated at night.
Be Friends With your Neighbours
It’s always nice to have someone next door looking out for you. You don’t have to be best friends, but if you are friendly with them they will likely notice if something is amiss. You can also call them over if you need help with anything such as lifting or reaching. It will only take a minute and they will likely be happy to help.
Have an Emergency Medical Alert System
A small personal alarm, such as the ones at callsafe.org, can be a lifesaver in an emergency. If you fall and you are not able to get up to reach the phone, you can simply press a button and receive medical assistance immediately. Not only will this keep you a lot safer, it will also give your family peace of mind because they will know that you will receive help if you ever need it.
Write Down Your Medical Information
Make a list of your allergies, medication, personal information and any other medical conditions on a piece of paper, which you can keep in your wallet or purse. This is very valuable to have, especially if paramedics are called to your home and you are not able to communicate.
Turn Meals Into Social Events
Eating well, or simply eating at all, is a major concern for elderly people who live on their own. An estimated 15%-50% of seniors suffer from poor nutrition. This is because of a number of reasons, including the dulling of taste buds, forgetting to eat or depression.
One way to make sure that you eat a healthy and balanced meal every day is to turn your meal into a social event. If you have a family member over for a meal, or go to a restaurant, you will be more likely to eat.
Also, if you find it difficult to get out to the supermarket and back to get food, there are options for ordering your groceries online. Ask a younger family member to set this up for you and show you how, so that you will be able to get your food delivered directly to your door.
Get Involved in the Community
The best way to keep your mind and body active and retain your independence is to be involved in your community. Enjoy a hobby, join a club, take a course, go to church, volunteer, visit your community centre and otherwise interact. An active social calendar will help you in many ways, such as improving brain function, fighting off boredom and depression and giving you a very important sense of belonging.
These are just a few tips for elderly folks living alone to keep in mind, so that they can live happily and independently.
About the author:
Jason Grant is a freelance writer who focuses on topics such as mental health, community, families and lifestyle. He writes for a number of online and offline publications and he lives with his wife and their two kids.