National Senior Independence Month

Be dependable – and let them depend on themselves 

Independent living is so important to seniors that February is dedicated to efforts that help them remain at home in a safe and supported environment. National Senior Independence Month celebrates seniors and empowers them to have the confidence and quality of life that comes with independent living. There are some simple things we can do to help seniors remain safe at home without disrupting routines. 

First, look around. Make sure there are obvious paths of navigation around the home. Rearrange furniture to support walking with ease. Eliminate tight spaces and tripping hazards. Also, consider the height of some furniture – bruising is more common in seniors due to thinning blood, so think about how to eliminate those risks as well. The most dangerous time to fall is at night, so pay special attention to anything that may get in the way of visits to the restroom or kitchen. 

Keep it clean. Dust and moisture can complicate health issues for everyone, and seniors are especially at risk. A senior home that is neat and tidy will help with hazards and health. Don’t forget to put cleaning products away after use. Tripping over mops, brooms and even the vacuum cleaner can result in devastating injuries. 

While computers may be intimidating for seniors, new communication technology can help them stay in touch and call for help. Embrace communication. Help seniors adopt new technology as long as they are tolerant, and patiently work with them to understand capabilities. They will certainly enjoy seeing grandchildren on tablet screens, but set up some simple apps that make calling for help easy too. Show them how to use their new devices and practice until it becomes as easy as using the microwave. Seniors can learn; they may just need your patience helping them learn to use new equipment. And you may be surprised that your senior loved one will pick up the new technology a lot faster than you think! 

Most importantly, call and visit often. Seniors who are active are healthier, so develop a dependable routine of contact – stop by in the mornings or call after dinner. If they no longer drive, take them somewhere. And if possible, help them volunteer in the community, so they continue an active social life as well. 

It’s time to give back to those seniors who set us up for success – or those who became our friends along the way. Allow February to serve as your reminder to help senior adults remain independent.