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How To Help Seniors Stay Independent: 3 Things You Can Do

by Frank Herold
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seniors with technology As a senior, exercise is more critical to your overall health and wellness than ever. Make sure that you're engaging in regular exercise to help improve your fitness, increase your heart health, and improve your energy levels. You'll be surprised at the impact regular exercise can have on your health and on your mood.

Related Blog: Can Too Much Exercise Be Harmful to Seniors?

As we get older, life gets harder for us to manage. Routine physical tasks that we once took for granted often become serious chores, and more often than not the sharp edges of our memory start to get dull. This is why it's so common for seniors to move-in with their grown children, or to relocate to a senior home or community where there will be a staff on-hand to help them tackle the needs of their day-to-day life.

Fortunately for those who are reaching their golden years in the modern-day, though, there are now more options than ever before to help seniors age in place. So while we can't solve all of the trials and tribulations that come with getting older, there are some things we can do to make aging just a little bit easier.

#1: Home Modifications

If you've lived in the same home for years, chances are that you're used to all its ins and outs. But when your more active years are in the past, it can become difficult to navigate your house. And, in some cases, it can even be hazardous to your health.

Fortunately, simple modifications can make a world of difference.

For example, if you have trouble getting up the stairs, it's possible to install a stair lift that will shuttle you up to the second floor. If you have trouble getting in and out of the bath, adding a door and handrails can make keeping clean a little safer (as well as more comfortable). While many of these are relatively simple in terms of installation and use, they can make life significantly easier for seniors who can't do all the things they used to.

#2: Provide For Emotional Needs

People are social animals, and getting older doesn't change that. However, as we age, it can become more difficult to maintain our social circles. That's why it's important to worry, not just about a senior's physical health, but also to be sure they have positive interactions with friends and family.

There are a lot of options on the table here, and it's important to explore them all. For example, seniors with pets feel a sense of companionship, and that can alleviate feelings of loneliness. Phone calls, or better yet facetime and Skype, can also help seniors feel like they're staying connected with distant relations. Of course, there is no substitute for in-person interaction. So making sure that seniors stay connected through spending time with friends, joining groups for hobbies or activities (mall walkers, wood carving, book club, etc.), or even through volunteering. It's important not to disconnect, and to make sure you have people who care about you, and who will be there for you.

#3: Have Measures In Place For Emergencies

Accidents happen, but for seniors an accident that would have been trivial in their youth can be a major emergency. A simple fall can break a hip, for example, and a health emergency can be paralyzing as well. So make sure you have something in place to allow your senior to get help when they need it.

While some seniors use emergency contact jewelry (bracelets or necklaces that can be activated to summon help), others may choose to embrace multi-use technology. An Amazon Echo, for instance, would allow you to call out for help even if you've fallen, and Bluetooth technology could let you dial 911 from an earpiece or a smart watch. And those devices have the added benefit that they allow seniors to do all kinds of things that, in their youth, would have been considered little more than science fiction.

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