June is National Home Safety Month, and the Neighbor interviewed two local businesses catering to senior citizens about the issue.
According to Home Instead Senior Care in Sandy Springs, more senior citizens are choosing to remain in their own home or move to a new home.
To help seniors make plans for where they would want to live during their “autumn” years, Omaha, Nebraska-based Home Instead, which has nine locations throughout Georgia, including Sandy Springs, has introduced in a news release with resources designed to navigate a senior’s options for living in a home.
For seniors who are living, or plan to live, in an independent living senior facility such as the Mansions at Sandy Springs, or its assisted living facility, which will open soon, its marketing director, Jyl Batterman, has some additional senior safety hints, as does Google through its senior safety hints website.
“We know how important it is for older adults to feel a sense of independence as they age and, for many, that means staying in the same home where they raised children and created a lifetime of memories,” said Jeff Shiovitz, co-owner and president of Home Instead Senior Care for its Atlanta Northside area. “However, we are also seeing a growing number of seniors who are choosing to move into a new home as they age, one that is better suited to their wishes to remain independent.”
For some seniors, the decision to look for a new home as they age is a practical one, Shiovitz said, citing a survey Home Instead conducted, with the top desired features including single-floor living and easy or low-cost maintenance.
“However, for those who want to continue to age in their current homes, nearly two-thirds have also considered age-friendly modifications to that home,” the release stated.
Shiovitz said that while many older adults have given thought as to how they will age in place, and know they want to stay at home in some way, many still have work to do when it comes to finalizing those plans.
He said one in four seniors surveyed report having specific plans for where they will live as they become older.
Shiovitz has several suggestions for seniors to make their new, or existing home, more accommodating for themselves or other visiting seniors.
“When we go out and assess people’s homes, we are looking for specific things, such as is there a large step seniors must climb over to get into the shower, or is there significant lighting for seniors who are not able to see as well as they go up and down stairs?” he said. “In addition, are there tripping hazards or is there clutter or other items on the floor people could trip and fall over?”
The Mansions’ independent living section, which has been in existence for five years, is comprised of 40 units, and its assisted living section will have 48 units when it opens. Batterman said one of the main sources of senior injuries is clutter on the floor.
“Before I stepped into the marketing field regarding senior living, I had more than 30 years working directly with seniors in occupational therapy, specializing in home safety,” she said. “Some of the safety factors are pretty general, but clutter on the floor in rooms and other walking areas for someone with balance issues is a big safety hazard.”
Another primary concern, she said, are area rugs just lying on the floor and not being anchored to the floor so seniors would be able to walk across them safely without slipping or tripping.
When one accesses senior safety hints on Google, it reveals numerous other senior safety issues, such as the importance of having either a medical alert button one would wear to summon emergency help, or having a friend or relative living very close by who could reach that senior quickly since time is of critical importance.
The website also suggests seniors, who have been sitting or lying down, to get up slowly as well as wear proper fitting, nonslip shoes in addition to having a fire and smoke detector on each level of the home.