Low-cost tips to help seniors live independently at home

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Losing mobility and thereby one’s independence is one of the difficulties seniors have to face. Simple activity like getting out of bed, walking, sitting down in a chair or climbing stairs, things one do without difficulty, becomes a challenging task for them. Matters become much more complicated for those seniors living alone as they have to employ full-time caregivers or move into nursing homes when they lose their mobility.

Here are some low-cost tips, provided by the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and AARP, to help seniors live independently in their homes for longer periods of time.

1. Wear nonslip shoes, not slippers, in the house.

2. Avoid area rugs or use double-sided tape to hold them in place.

3. If you must climb, use a sturdy step stool with a hand rail, not a chair.

4. Place everyday items in easy-to-reach places, including cooking items.

5. Sit to cook if possible. Keep the microwave low enough to reach.

6. Use a raised toilet seat, which can add 2 inches to 5 inches without replacing the toilet.

7. Place nonskid safety strips in the tub, and use a tub bench or shower chair.

8. Install grab bars in the bathroom or, if that`s not possible, a safety rail can be clamped onto the side of the tub.

9. Railings on both sides make stairs easier.

10. Look for tools such as a button hook/zip pull or a "reacher" that grabs hard-to-reach items.

11. Carry a portable or cellphone around the house in case of a fall or other emergency.

12. Consider a home assessment from an occupational therapist, who can tailor suggestions to your functional ability.

13. When remodeling, AARP suggests consulting a Certified Aging in Place Specialist, a program of the National Association of Home Builders that designates contractors, remodelers and others who are trained in modifying homes for the elderly.

(With Agency inputs)

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