5 tips to stay healthy at home

The Bottom Line

  • Most older adults want to live in their own homes for as long as possible.
  • Keeping our home environments and bodies healthy and safe can help us remain happy and healthy at home as we age.
  • Research shows preventing falls, changing your diet, being more active, staying social and reviewing your medications are important priorities for staying healthy at home.

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.

2. Change your diet

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.

3. Get up and get moving!

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.

5. Review your medications

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.

Featured Resources

Read more about these topics below:

FALLS PREVENTION: Falls prevention month

NUTRITION: Eat well to age well

EXERCISE: Flex your muscles!

SOCIAL HEALTH: Are you lonely?

DRUG SAFETYDrug safety for seniors

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DISCLAIMER: These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of new and old blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with changing public health recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website.