Your home is your castle, so they say. But that doesn’t mean you can let down your guard when it comes to staying safe and well.
If you’re like most people you want to “age in place,” which means maintaining your independence as you grow older and staying in your own home for as long as possible. According to a report by the Canadian Medical Association, 63% of Canadians selected home and community care for older adults as a top priority.
So what can we do to prepare?
"It’s important that the places we call home are healthy environments,” said Andrew Beck, Director of the Risk Management Bureau in Health Canada's Safe Environments Directorate. Supporting the health and wellbeing of older adults who wish to remain in their home for as long as possible is an important priority for Health Canada. While adults over age 65 comprise 15% of the Canadian population, they account for 35% of all injury hospitalizations. “Some common health concerns we have identified for seniors include the safe handling of medications, the proper management of household chemicals, poor indoor air quality including mold, carbon monoxide and second hand smoke risks, safe food handling, access to clean, safe drinking water and indoor temperature management particularly during summer heat alerts.”
In addition to Health Canada’s environmental health concerns for older adults at home, research on the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal outlines the following five tips for remaining happy and healthy at home as we age. Click through each title for more information.
1. Prevent falls
Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults, but they can be prevented! Find out what the research shows really works to help keep you on your feet, including options for strength building and balance training.
A healthy diet can help prevent common health problems, including heart disease and diabetes. Try these 5 diet changes supported by research evidence to help you age well.
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to stay healthy as you age. And don’t forget to sit less – as well as exercise more – to lower your risk of health problems. Find out which types of exercise work best for different conditions and tips to help you get moving!
4. Avoid isolation and depression by staying active and social
Many people feel lonely and lose social connections as they age. Isolation and depression go hand-in-hand and can lead to other health problems, even shorten your life. Staying social and engaged with other people is a good way to avoid isolation. Exercise and mindfulness are two ways to help ease and avoid depression.
A growing number of older adults have more than one medical condition and take multiple medications every day. It can be hard to keep track of it all! Some medications can interact with others, and some may be unnecessary… or even harmful to your health. Read more about the “Pitfalls of Polypharmacy” and when it might be wise to stop taking certain medications.