As we age, the definition of what constitutes quality of life changes, especially for seniors. But first, when we are young parents, quality of life is all about spending time with the children and helping them build happy and productive lives. Then, as empty nesters, quality of life might mean rediscovering an old hobby or discovering new hobbies with your spouse.
For seniors, quality of life might be viewed along those lines as well, but it often includes things like being safe and independent in your home, maintaining accessibility, and looking for convenience in some areas. Using these tips, you can maintain your physical and mental health.
Stay Safe and Independent at Home
You can stay safe at home by following guidelines for areas that often pose danger to seniors.
- Install grab bars and non-slip mats in the bathtub or shower.
- Keep a mop nearby and clean the tub or shower weekly.
- Install handrails in stairwells, and be sure to use them. Don’t carry something so heavy or bulky that you can’t use the rails.
- Make sure stairs are free from any loose carpet. People can easily trip and fall, with disastrous results.
- Don’t use stairwells for storing boxes or baskets. You need the entire stairway for traveling up and down.
- Be careful about wearing loose clothing while cooking. Long, loose sleeves can quickly catch fire over an open flame or hot burner.
- Be careful when using and storing knives.
- Avoid food poisoning by being careful about refrigeration and food storage.
- Install bright lighting in storage areas so you can see where you are going.
- Don’t store things you use often on high shelves. Have a friend or loved one help you arrange your storage area so the things you need are handy.
Create Accessible Spaces for Seniors
If you need to upgrade your home for wheelchair or walker accessibility, consult a handyman or local contractor. If it’s a quick upgrade, you might be able to do it yourself, but be careful about taking on a project that requires more skills or tools than you have. Instead, leave those complicated projects to the professionals.
Another way to create an accessible space is to simply pare down what you have. If your bedside table is surrounded by books and baskets of clothing, move the books to a bookcase and store the baskets of clothing in the closet, as this will allow a person in a wheelchair to maneuver into bed.
On the other hand, if your kitchen is small, try moving things like a step stool or a trash can to another area to create more open space. Opt for a smaller dining table and move extra chairs to a storage area to allow accessibility.
Add Additional Levels of Convenience
When it comes to convenience, that might mean different things to different people. For some, it could mean pre-prepared meals or meal delivery. Check with your local Meals on Wheels group about scheduling delivery.
For some, convenience means keeping necessary things in within arm’s reach. Use small baskets to group similar items, such as television remotes, note pads, and pens that you might use in the living room, or medicines and pill containers that you keep on the kitchen counter.
Clear off sentimental items from the dresser so you can use the dresser top for baskets of socks or other items you use daily, especially if opening drawers is cumbersome. Consider replacing a dresser with a bookshelf and baskets.
With some quick changes to your home environment, you can create a space that keeps you safe and offers plenty of accessibility and convenience. Take advantage of meal delivery services and handyman services from local non-profit groups. These things can provide great peace of mind and help keep you safe and happy for many years.
Written by Guest Author Jason Lewis • StrongWell.org