The aging process happens to all of us, even if we find it difficult to imagine. Many people do of course enjoy a happy and independent life in their senior years without any particular difficulty. However, aging can bring problems such as reduced mobility and greater difficulties with hearing or vision, or cognitive function.
This can make living independently and maintaining a good quality of life more challenging. Here’s a look at the most important factors that can influence how safely and happily a senior person can live in their own home, and delay or avoid the need to move into an unfamiliar environment.
One of biggest challenges of aging is often reduced mobility. As we age, our bones become thinner and our muscles become weaker. Our balance may not be as good as it used to be, increasing the risk of falls and making negotiating stairs more difficult.
About 55% of women and 37% of men over the age of 70 suffer from arthritis in the UK. This is a painful inflammatory condition that affects the joints, particularly the knees and hands. This may impact on the ability to get around the house and garden, or out to the shops or social events.
Eventually, the older person may need some aids and adaptations to help maintain their quality of life. Wessex stairlifts can be installed to carry a person in a seated position up and down stairs, either indoors or outdoors. Some models are suitable for curved staircases. A walking stick or walking frame may help on flat surfaces.
Using the bathroom safely is one of the key factors to living independently in older age. Being able to take care of our personal hygiene properly impacts on our bodily health and mental wellbeing. One of the most frequent occurrences of domestic accidents is falls and slips in the bathroom.
There are several different methods to make getting in and out of the bath or shower easier. Grab rails installed on the wall next to the bath tub, toilet, or shower cubicle provide an extra level of support while manoeuvring in and out. A bath lift or a walk-in bath may benefit those who find stepping over the side of the bath too difficult.
Shower cubicles can be replaced with doorless walk-in showers and low-profile trays. If standing for prolonged periods is becoming difficult, a shower seat can be installed. If full wheelchair access is needed, a wet room may be the best solution. This is a shower room with fully sealed walls and floors, so there is no need for a raised shower tray.
The ability to prepare food independently is of course another crucial aspect of living well at home. Kitchen worktops with adjustable heights can enable wheelchair users to use a kitchen. For those with painful arthritic joints, pull-out cupboards which minimise stretching and bending can be a great help, as can tools such as jar openers and ergonomic handles.