As the year comes to an end, we reflect on how the pandemic has brought senior health and safety to the forefront of the mind. Seniors, particularly those that live in long term care facilities faced unimaginable challenges with nursing homes being linked to 40% of all COVID-19 deaths in the United States, according to The New York Times.
Pfizer’s vaccine rollout, imminent as it is, is a gradual process and many people are choosing to bring their elderly loved ones homeward. This is not only to reduce risk of infection, but also to mitigate the negative health effects of social isolation – amongst them a “29% higher risk of heart disease, 32% increased risk of stroke, and 50% increased risk of dementia” (CDC, 2020).
However, caregivers face the fact that most homes are not inherently accessible nor ‘senior-friendly’. Fortunately, Coverage created a practical resource that highlights home modifications and precautionary measures that will help caregivers and healthcare providers empower seniors to age in place. We summarize these modifications and measures below. We also briefly highlight how SenSights.AI helps caregivers ensure seniors’ health and wellness.
Find the detailed room-by-room guide at Coverage: Home Modifications when moving in an elderly parent.
Below, we summarize key modifications professional caregivers and household members can undertake to improve senior safety.
- Remove ‘trip-and-fall’ hazards: AARP research suggests that falls are “something that 1 in 4 Americans over age 65 experiences every year.” Care providers must ensure that existing home settings – e.g. hallways, living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. – are brightly lit and clutter free. This will help skilled caregivers reduce fall risk.
- Install non-slip treads: Caregivers should install non-slip treads on stair steps and inside showers to reduce the likelihood of a ‘slip-and–fall’ injury.
- Improve Accessibility: Many seniors experience low mobility and use wheelchairs, scooters or walking aids to get around. Skilled or family caregivers can accommodate mobility issues by installing ramps for the outdoors and chair lifts for stairways. Care providers must also consider rearranging large furniture to provide room for wheelchair maneuvering.
- Install Balance Assistive Equipment: Walk-in style showers, bathroom rails and shower seats are simple modifications that will help seniors with balance and mobility.
Coverage also highlights extra precautions for care providers to employ to help manage the health and wellness of seniors. These include setting guidelines for kids and pets, installing a security system and investing in a medical alert system. The latter, we believe, is a uniquely important measure for the elderly.
- Medical Alert System: It is not possible for skilled or family caregivers to monitor seniors for 24 hours a day. In this situation, a medical alert system is a very useful device. In addition to user-friendly emergency alert systems, most of these devices come equipped with fall detection, vital signs monitoring and more. Medical Alert Systems provide peace of mind to seniors and caregivers, alike, and help older adults preserve mobility and gain independence.
Safe@Home by SenSights.AI goes a step further.
Safe@Home enabled by SenSights.AI is an artificially intelligent health management solution. It uses FDA-approved medical devices – such as medical alert systems – Fitbit Fitness Trackers, Apple Watches, smartphones to enable real-time patient monitoring, routine measurements and smart alerts. It enables caregivers, home care providers and other healthcare providers to remotely set condition-specific ranges, monitor vital signs and intervene, as necessary, in the health of the older adults. We provide dedicated solutions for patients with Memory Loss, Diabetes and COPD/CHF. Safe@Home helps caregivers deliver accurate and timely senior care, and empowers older adults to age in place.
Find out more about the tax, insurance and personal benefits these senior safety measures can provide at Coverage.
Visit us at Safe@Home by SenSights.AI to learn more about how our platform helps caregivers empower older adults to age in place.
You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, to request a demo.