Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Products for Safer Aging in Your Home

By the time you are in your 70s or 80s, there is a very good chance you will either be living alone or with a partially disabled spouse. Since the vast majority of senior citizens choose to live independently in their own home or apartment, seniors may feel more secure if they take advantage of modern technology to help them age safely.

As you age, you may begin to feel lonely and isolated, especially if it becomes difficult to drive or walk long distances.  You may also become uncomfortable if familiar neighbors move away and strangers occupy the neighboring homes.  In some cases, you could become unsure who to rely on in an emergency. However, there are a few simple purchases you can make which will keep you connected to the outside world and help you feel safer.

There are a wide variety of safety options available.  Most of them are useful long before you need them because of aging.  The items mentioned below fall into three categories ... items which will keep you safe from intruders, tools to make it easier to get help in an emergency, and products to reduce accidents in your home. 

Products to Protect Yourself from Intruders

Security Systems - Security systems are available from a number of companies including ADT and Costco.  When activated, they will sound an alarm if someone enters a door or window.  If the system you choose is connected to a monitoring company, the agent can contact the police or fire department if there are signs of an intruder or fire.

Ring Video Doorbell - If you simply want to know who is ringing your doorbell, the Ring Video doorbell has a camera which connects to your smartphone and will show you who is standing at your door, whether you are home or not.  It also allows you to speak to the person without opening your door.  You can even tell the UPS deliveryman to leave a package at your door, so you do not have to open the door to a stranger, especially if you are not expecting a delivery.

Motion-detector lights - If the area around your home is dark, motion-detector lights which come on automatically when anyone approaches will make intruders more visible and likely to flee if they are trying to break into your home.  It will also make you more aware of the fact that a person or animal has approached your home. Home Depot, Lowe's and lighting supply companies can sell you the light fixtures and arrange installation, although some of the devices can be easily screwed into an existing fixture.

Products for Contacting Assistance in an Emergency

Personal Safety Devices - You have probably seen the television ads with an elderly person falling and calling out, "Help, I can't get up."  The older you are, the greater the possibility this could actually happen.  There are several companies, such as Great Call, Life Alert and Medical Alert, which have products that can solve this problem.  You wear a bracelet or pendant and, should you need an ambulance, the fire department, or the police, you only need to press a button in order to be connected to a response agent who will call a friend, neighbor or the appropriate emergency service for you. Some of the devices work only in your home when you are near the transmitter.  Others will work wherever you go.  Make sure you understand how the system works before you purchase it.

Jitterbug and other Smart Phones - If you do not want to wear a medical alert pendant or bracelet, you could purchase a product like the Jitterbug phone which is an easy-to-use cell phone, texting and email device; it also doubles as a personal safety device which comes with Great Call's safety app.  You simply press an icon on the face of the phone and will be connected directly to a response agent who can get you the help you need.  If you do not want to purchase a new device, you can set up your current smart phone with an emergency call app, so it is quick and easy for you to call emergency services.  If you decide you prefer using a mobile phone rather than a personal safety device, it is important you carry your phone on your person or keep it within reach at all times.

CapTel Captioned Telephone - Do you have trouble hearing, which makes it difficult for you to easily use your home telephone?  The CapTel amplified and captioned telephone has a screen which converts the spoken word to captions on the phone's screen.  At the same time, the sound of the words are amplified by the phone. The combination of having the words made louder and a screen which allows you to read what the person is saying, makes it much easier for you to communicate with the outside world.  This could be especially important in an emergency when you do not want to waste time asking the other party to repeat what they are saying. 

Products to Prevent Accidents in Your Home

Night lights - Accidents are more likely to happen in the dark.  Having night lights in the bathroom and dark hallways will reduce your risk of tripping over something in the dark. In addition, if there is a fire in your home and your access to the nearest exit is obscured by smoke, night lights could help you find your way. You can find inexpensive night lights at nearly any drug or grocery store.

Illuminated light switch covers - Another way to add light to your home at night is to have the light switch covers changed to ones which are illuminated.  They will emit a tiny amount of light, but make it much easier to find the switch in a dark room.

Stair lifts - If you live in a two-story home and have difficulty going up and down the stairs, you do not have to put yourself at risk of falling.  Companies such as Acorn, AmeriGlide and Bruno Stair Lifts provide a safe way to sit on a seat and be carried safely up and down the stairs.  A stair lift can also make it possible for you to stay in a home you love, rather than move because the stairs are giving you difficulty.

Walk-in Bathtubs - One major danger when you live alone is a fall in your shower or bathtub.  One solution is purchasing an inexpensive waterproof stool to use in the shower.  Another solution is a walk-in bathtub.  You open a door on the side of the tub, walk in, sit on the seat and close the door.  Then you fill the tub with water.  The tubs often have heated seats and massaging hydro-jets to make the experience even more relaxing.  Most of all, however, you no longer have to step over the edge of a slippery tub to take a bath.  After your bath, you remain safely seated while you drain the tub, open the door and then step out.  American Standard, Safe Step, Kohler, Jacuzzi and several other companies offer these tubs, so it is wise to shop around for the one which feels comfortable and is the most affordable option for your needs.

Lift Chairs - If you have difficulty getting out of a chair, especially after surgery or an injury, a lift chair may make it easier for you to get to a standing position.  Some of them also double as the perfect sleep chairs and may come with heat and massage.  They can be very helpful if you have difficulty sleeping on a flat mattress or getting out of bed in the morning.

If you are interested in more information about dealing with common medical problems as you age, where to retire, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare and more, use the tabs and pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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1 comment:

  1. This is all terrific information. I like the video doorbell especially for boomer women who live alone. It's a great precaution to be able to see and speak to the person at the door.


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