Archive for the ‘home safety’ Category

A Universal Design Creates Accessible Housing for Seniors

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Most senior home owners want to continue living in their homes as they grow older, but their homes may not be suited to the needs of an aging senior. Due to physical limitations that can arise with age, a senior might eventually find it too difficult to go up and down stairs or turn on/off a faucet. That’s why in an effort to ensure continued accessibility, architects, builders, and senior care professionals recommend renovating or building housing units using the universal design model.

The universal design model calls for:

  • All rooms to be on a single level
  • No-step entryways
  • Extra-wide doorways and hallway
  • Switches and outlets reachable from any height
  • Lever-style handles on doors and faucets

By removing the need to navigate stairs, providing room to maneuver wheelchairs, walkers and medical equipment, and making doors, faucets and switches easily accessible, the universal design model, in theory, allows people of all ages and physical abilities (especially those who have limited mobility and trouble turning knobs) to live in the same residence. According to a recent report from The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard, only 57% of housing units today have more than one of these features.

Rather than remodel their homes to be more accessible, some seniors find it more practical to move. The same report notes that more than 90% of seniors who move in their 80s relocate to homes with single floor living, 63% move to homes with no-step entries and 35% to homes with extra-wide doors and hallways.

In some cases, other modifications (roll-in showers, slip resistant floors, additional lighting, etc.) are needed to make a home more accessible, but for many seniors incorporating universal design features will keep their homes comfortable and safe for years.


Be Independent on Independence Day

Friday, June 29th, 2012

With Independence Day around the corner, we’ve decided to share some resources that will help the seniors in your life stay independent.

The first resource we’ve found gives 10 tips for independent living. These tips will help you organize and prepare so that your loved ones can live independently without you having to worry.

From installing handrails to motion seniors for lights, these easy home improvement tips can have an immediate impact on your loved ones safety and peace of mind.

Another easy way to give your parents more independence is by getting them a LifeStation Medical Alert System. This will give you and your parents the peace of mind that if something does happen, someone will be there to help.

No matter how you do it, let’s make this year’s Independence Day a day of independence for everyone

Fire Prevention and Seniors

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

October 9-15th is Fire Prevention Week. Fire Safety is critically important for seniors. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, “Americans over the age of 65 are one of the groups at greatest risk of dying in a fire. On average, more than 1,000 Americans age 65 and over die in fires. People over the age of 85 die in fires at a rate five times higher than the rest of the population.”

In addition to the standard fire safety advice (check your smoke detector battery, have an escape plan), the USFA website has some specific advice about kitchen fires, space heaters and smoking.

Your medical alarm is not a replacement for a fire detector but if you sense danger, press the button and our Care Specialists will quickly get you help.

Report says exercise and vitamin D can prevent falls among the elderly

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Falls are the number one cause of injury-related deaths among people 65 and over, according to the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (See our recent post “Big risks from small falls“.) A medical alert system is important to summon help quickly in the event of a fall and mitigate complications. However, its also important to take steps to prevent falls from happening in the first place. That’s why we frequently post items on our blog, Facebook and Twitter feeds about how we can improve our health and living environment to reduce the risk of falling.

This month, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of experts mandated by Congress, sorted through hundreds of articles and thousands of abstracts help guide the advice that primary care practitioners give to their patients. Based on 16 studies that the task force analyzed, exercise can reduce the risk of falling by 13% and 9 studies provided evidence that vitamin D supplementation can reduce risk 17%.

The report is just as interesting for what it found did not reduce risk. Neither vision correction nor education alone were associated with reducing the risk of falling. One study in Australia actually found an increase in the proportion of fallers among those who got vision correction. According to the researchers, this may be because frail older adults became more active because of their improved vision, thus increasing their risk of falling.

(Photo by TooFarNorth via flickr)

MetLife releases valuable free aging-in-place assessment

Friday, November 19th, 2010

MetLife Aging in Place WorkbookMetLife, the insurance giant, has a very helpful new downloadable workbook that helps seniors and their caregivers assess what types of adjustments and assistance are needed so that seniors can age in place in their own homes. The company’s Aging in Place Workbook covers several important areas including:

  • Care needs
  • Home safety as a care setting
  • Home modifications considerations
  • Developing a care plan
  • Deciding if your home is a suitable care setting
  • Alternative care settings
  • Making necessary adjustments

The document discusses important assistive technologies including medical alert systems (also known as Personal Emergency Response Systems):

“If you live alone or are alone much of the time you may want to think about a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) so that you can call for help in the event of an emergency.”

The workbook is available now on MetLife’s Mature Market Institute web site.

Video Gives Helpful Tips to Prevent Falls at Home

Friday, November 5th, 2010

The Visiting Nurse Service of New York has posted several very useful videos for staying seniors and their loved ones. Their video, How to Prevent Trips and Falls in the Home is packed with great tips, all very clearly presented and demonstrated. It’s well worth watching.

A medical alert system is invaluable for summoning help in the event of a fall, it’s important to take all steps to prevents fall from occurring in the first place. A recent study highlighted the significant risks that seniors face from even simple falls.