Encouraging Independence in Seniors – Maintaining Quality of Life

As a caregiver, it is important to encourage independence in seniors, but also to interact with them in ways that provide the opportunity for them to maintain a better quality of life for themselves. By participating in activities with your senior loved one, not only are you showing that you care – the acts you undertake together can help improve their overall health.

The kitchen can be a dangerous place for seniors and elders. Not only are seniors over the age of 65 more likely to be injured in a kitchen fire, they are more likely to suffer a fall injury due to: items stored out of reach—both too high and too low—and the likelihood that meals are carried to eat in another room.

More Canadians are choosing to “age in place.” That is, they opt to stay in their homes rather than move to alternative retirement settings. But that often means they must modify their homes so it’s not a danger to their safety and health when their physical abilities change.

As more and more older adults are choosing to age in place, the need for home modifications to accommodate physical changes in people is growing. Ideally, homes for aging adults would meet universal design standards, which make structures inherently accessible to older people and those with disabilities. Many homeowners, however, hesitate to upgrade existing homes because of the cost.

Today’s technology gives independent-living seniors and their families and friends a growing array of easy, convenient ways to stay connected, across the country or across town.

There are many preventable actions that seniors and their families can take to ensure their safety and the safety of their loved ones. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that injuries, many of which are preventable, are the leading cause of disability and death for people of all ages.

Food poisoning is especially detrimental to seniors, causing them to be sicker longer with more acute symptoms. As people age, their immune systems slow down and are not as effective in combating illnesses. For these reasons, it is critical that seniors and their caretakers are able to immediately identify the symptoms of food poisoning and seek proper medical care and treatment. It is equally important, or more so, that they follow safe food preparation and handling methods.

Avoid senior injuries when shoveling snow. Many people, especially seniors, can underestimate the time, strength and stamina it takes to shovel snow. Injuries can run the gamut in severity and can range from strained backs and broken bones, to serious cuts and even fatal heart attacks.

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