How to Live Independently and Safe

There is something uniquely comforting about your own home. However, as you age, figuring out how to live independently and safe will become a concern. Try as you might, eventually you will face a decrease in your vision and loss of flexibility. You will remain as active as possible, of course, but time catches up with us all in the end. The key is to take steps to ensure you can stay in the house you worked so hard to own and the good news is there are a handful of simple changes you can make to help you remain there as long as possible.
The most common cause of injury and death among retirees is a fall – the Centers for Disease Prevention and control estimates reducing the tripping hazards in a home could make a significant difference in the number of broken bones suffered by people 65 and older. Here are some basic precautions to help you avoid becoming a statistic
Make the bathroom walk-in friendly
Slick tile floors can be a challenge to navigate safely when you are a world-class athlete, let alone when your balance isn’t what it used to be. Getting in and out of the tub is the biggest hazard, as it requires transferring with one leg lifted high over a barrier. A growing number of companies have designed special walk-in combination bathtubs that have low entry points and a waist-high, watertight door. Most give you the option of sitting or standing as you bathe, using a removable showerhead to reach as much as six feet from the wall.
Exchange shelves for drawers
Under-counter shelves are frequently used in the kitchen for storing pots and pans, but they can pose a danger to seniors who will be tempted to bend over or get down on all fours to dig for a saucepan. This creates an unsteady stance that can lead to strained muscles, too. Adding drawers allows the sought-after item to be pulled out instead of reached for, a basic modification that leads to major changes.
Watch your step
It seems straightforward, but are the walkways in your home free and clear? This goes beyond a pair of shoes in the hall – are there loose rugs or slick spots? Paying attention to the surfaces will keep you from being caught off guard when you set foot in a room. Also, be sure to place nightlights in each room and ensure there are light switches inside each door. Being able to flip on a lamp quickly will make those late-night trips to the refrigerator about a piece of pie instead of a hospital visit waiting to happen.
Be by the phone
In the event of an emergency, the ability to communicate is crucial. Every room in the house should have a telephone available. (You can turn the ringer off on several of them, if the noise is too much.) In addition, it’s smart to have a charged cell phone handy, whether you carry it in a pocket as you walk around your home or as a backup in case your line is down. When time is of the essence, you’ll want to be sure you can get a hold of someone as fast as possible.

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