The Top 5 Must-haves for Seniors to Live Independently

By: Stefanie Jean


Ideally, we would all love to allow our senior loved ones to continue living in their beloved home, the repository of all their most treasured memories, instead of forcing them to live in a nursing facility. However, letting seniors live independently does have its own challenges. The most obvious of such challenges are the issues of safety and security. All the common health problems an average senior faces can essentially transform their usually cozy abode into a haven of endangerment, with the constant threat of a fatal accident awaiting their every turn. But while challenging, it is not altogether impossible. There are many ways to senior-proof a home, but the following five are indispensable.

1. Modify your senior-loved one’s home: The very first step you must do to ensure that your senior loved one can live not only independently, but also safely and comfortably in their own home is by ensuring that the house indeed is safe and comfortable. A huge percentage of fatal accidents involving seniors occur in their own homes, mostly due to neglect or failure to adjust the home situation to the changing needs of the senior. You may hire a professional to assess the senior’s home and identify how to make it safe, or you can just visit the website of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), where you can find helpful information about how to do the modifications without spending a lot of money. Often, changing light bulbs with brighter LED ones can go a long way to reducing the risk of accidents.

2. Home Security Alarm System: If your senior loved one is living alone, ensuring the home’s security is indispensable. There are several ways you can do this. The most basic, of course, is getting them a good guard dog, such as a Labrador retriever. Such guard dogs can also serve as guide for seniors with vision problems, especially when going out or crossing the road. However, you must be sure that the dog is trained to respond well to emergency situations, or at least, would not jump on the senior (and thus causing reckless endangerment) when excited. The other way to establish the home’s security is by installing a wireless home security and video surveillance system. Contrary to what you may assume, even advanced home security systems are now affordable. And even if you have to spend about $500, that should still be a small amount in exchange for your senior loved one’s security. Many alarm system packages, especially those manufactured by established and highly reputable companies such as GE and Honeywell or Ademco, can provide accurate round-the-clock security for only a couple of hundred dollars. For a few hundred dollars more, you can get a full system with digital video surveillance—some of these systems come with a digital video recorder that can store several months of video surveillance footage in their built-in hard drives.

3. Medical Alarm System: If the home security alarm system serves to guard the house, then the medical alarm system provides security on a personal level. Such a personal alert system almost always come in the simplest configuration consisting of a home base unit connected to the phone line and a wearable panic button (worn as a bracelet or necklace pendant) that communicates wirelessly to the home base unit. When pressed, the panic button instantly establishes communication to the base unit, which functions like a modified speakerphone that allows the alert system provider’s monitoring center to be quickly on the line and communicate with the senior in distress. The monitoring center also has the capability to alert emergency alternatives should the senior is unresponsive, such as contacting and dispatching medical emergency personnel and notifying the nearest trusted neighbors and the senior’s relatives. And the best thing about these alerts: they’re inexpensive. With monthly fees ranging from $15 to $30, which is already inclusive of equipment rental and the 24/7 monitoring, it would be difficult to think of anything more valuable than the affordable service provided by such personal alert systems.

4. Automatic medicine dispenser or a similar service: Commonly, seniors have to take several medicines a day, and it can be confusing for them to remember all the pills and the right dosage. Buying an automatic medicine dispenser, which can store up to a month’s worth of daily medicines, can help ensure that your senior never forgets to take their meds. Some personal alert system providers also offer this type of medicine dispenser as an accessory to their main products.

5. In-home care assistance: You should also get the services of an agency that provides visiting caregivers that can provide professional care for your loved one, especially during those times you’re not around to care for them. The in-home care assistance service is usually flexible in terms of schedule and fees, and it is a great complement to the medical alert system.

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About Rescue Alert of California Rescue Alert of California is dedicating to providing education and resources to seniors and caregivers. Our articles are designed to help provide the information that caregivers and seniors need for senior health and safety. A medical alert can help keep seniors safe, and give families peace of mind knowing that their loved ones are protected.

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