Everyone knows to place nonslip mats in the tub and to leave a light on in dark rooms so that you don’t inadvertently trip. But what other safety tips might aging adults benefit from? Well, we’ve set out to create such a list. From clever solutions to ideas that are downright fun, these safety tips can help you (or your loved ones) live a healthier, happier, and, most importantly, safer lifestyle.
1. Embrace the smartwatch
Up until now, the smartwatch has been somewhat hamstrung by the fact that it needed to be connected or synced with a smartphone in order to make calls, receive texts, and complete other tasks that one would consider second-nature for a phone. For this reason, smartwatches have been relative novelties up until now. Neat, certainly, but not necessarily all that useful. That changes with the recent launch of the Apple Watch 3. And that is because the new Apple Watch comes with cellular service, meaning you are never out of reach so long as you have a watch on. Now, that is pretty neat!
2. Invest in a home automation system
A home automation system can make life around the house so much easier for you, especially if you sync it with smart devices like motion detectors, security cameras, door and window sensors, smart thermostats, light controls, or even smart locks. Simply access the system on your smartphone, tablet, or touchscreen panel, and you can control your entire house with a single touch. For individuals who are mobility impaired, this system makes it easier to lock up at night, control the temperature, and monitor for intruders (or delivery men). A home automation system is aptly named because it can automate so many of your daily mundane tasks.
3. Looking for an assistant? Meet Alexa.
With an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, you can check the weather, make calls, send messages, play music, listen to the news, or even order products on Amazon and have them shipped to you, all with a simple voice command. These smart Wi-Fi speakers come with your own personal assistant in the form of Alexa. Simply say “Alexa,” and your speaker will chime in to see what your request is. For individuals who are less mobile, or at risk of falling, it can prove incredibly helpful, not to mention life-saving in the event of an emergency. Best of all, Alexa can sync with home automation systems like the one mentioned above as well, making it doubly useful.
4. Keep a medical alert device on you
If an Apple Watch is more than you need, or you simply aren’t comfortable with its form factor, a medical alert device similar to Life Alert can give you (and your children or grandchildren) peace of mind when you are home alone. Worn on the wrist or around the neck, these simple yet durable devices can help you contact help in the event of a fall, medical emergency, intrusion, or other pressing matter. And unlike a smartphone or smartwatch, you don’t have to worry about dialing a number, charging it frequently, or making sure that you have it within reach, as it’s on you at all times. Press the button, speak with emergency responders, and get the help you need, fast.
5. Take up yoga (or other activities)
A strict exercise regimen can help keep you mobile and active well into advanced age. Exercise promotes muscle and bone growth, not to mention cardiovascular health. The worst thing that you can do as you get older is slow down, as unused muscles can lose strength quickly. Of course, beyond the practical health benefits, exercising is a terrific way for aging adults to maintain a social circle, too. Whether you take up swim, join a lawn bowling club, or try yoga for the first time, you will inevitably find that it is fun and fulfilling in more ways than one.
6. Don’t get burned! Use anti-scald faucet taps.
Home water heaters can easily heat water up to temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit or more. And though this may seem dangerously excessive, especially as anything over 100 degrees Fahrenheit can be uncomfortable if not downright painful, it’s important to remember that dishwashers and laundry machines often use superheated water for cleaning purposes. So it isn’t so easy as simply turning down the water heater. This is where anti-scald devices come into play. They can prevent you from being inadvertently burned (especially easy if you have thin skin, as is the case with most children and aging adults), and can be installed in mere minutes. In other words, there are no downsides! Get one (or more) today.
7. Let a pill dispenser do your work for you
For aging adults on a strict and regimented pill prescription, keeping track of which pills to take, and when, can be exhausting. Not to mention dangerous. For many aging adults, missing a pill when it is due can lead to dire consequences. Thankfully, there are now smart pill dispensers like the HERO Health that take away the guesswork. Yes, there’s definitely a learning curve of sorts in getting everything set up (if you’re less tech-savvy than you’d like to be, consider enlisting your children or grandchildren for help). But once you’ve figured it out, all you have to do is load the pill dispenser and it will do everything else. You can even receive alerts right on your phone when your pills are due.
8. Time to remodel!
Remodeling your home to fit your particular needs can extend its usefulness for years, if not decades. Whether you choose to focus on the bathroom—say, by putting in a walk-in tub for example—or decide to tackle the entire house is up to you. What’s important is assessing your needs and making changes where they’re needed. Perhaps you add handrails to the walls or install a stair lift to help you get to the top floor. Or perhaps you decide to knock out a wall or two to create a more open floor plan, which could aid with mobility. The choice is yours! Just remember, your home should serve you, not the other way around. So start planning! Remodeling the home can be incredibly fun, provide you with a project in your retirement years, and have untold practical benefits.
Please add your favorite safety tip by leaving a comment.
Samantha Rivers is a freelance writer who lives in Chicago (Go Cubs!) and loves writing anything in the lifestyle, tech, travel, and career realm both online and print. When she's not running the Upward Onward blog, she enjoys reading, finding new restaurants, being active outside, and indulging in a glass of wine or two.