Your golden years can be a rewarding and fulfilling time of life. You have probably finished up raising your family and might even be retired and enjoying a lot more free time than ever before. Hopefully, you can spend lots of time doing things you love like hobbies, travel, visiting with family and friends, or contributing to meaningful charity work.
But being “mature and experienced” also has its challenges.
Simple things like getting on a stepstool, lifting heavy things, twisting, or climbing a ladder are much riskier when you are over 65. You may have the skills to do all the handyman things around your home, but the question becomes, is it worth the risk of injury? Or is it better to let someone else do those things so you can continue doing what you really enjoy for many more years?
Reasons Senior Adults Fall
The CDC shares this sobering statistic: Thirty million older adults fall each year—resulting in about 30,000 deaths.
Seniors are at an increased risk of falling for a variety of reasons:
- Side effects of medications (prescription and over-the-counter)
- Blood pressure fluctuations
- Vertigo and balance issues
- Poor vision
- Fear of falling
- Arthritis and difficulty walking or climbing
- Lower bone density and strength
What Falls Cost Adults Aged 65 and over in America
One fall can spell trouble for seniors. And the risk of serious injury tends to increase with age.
- The medical cost for treating a fall is around $30,000. Aging.com
- Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury among older adults, and the most frequent reason for non-fatal trauma as well. Aging.com
- Falls cause broken hips, head trauma, traumatic brain injuries, broken arms, broken backs, etc…
- Falls often cost people their independence.
- Falls cause seniors to lose many weeks or months of living in their own homes or with their families because they have to be in rehab units.
- Falls can cause people to have to go to a nursing home much sooner than they would have had to.
- Once a senior adult falls, he/she tends to lose strength because recovery takes so long. So that person is often at a greater risk for future falls, as well.
Falls are the leading cause of death for seniors today.
Ways to Reduce Fall Risk and Prevent Falls
The good news is— there is hope! There are lots of ways to prevent falls if you are a senior adult.
- Keep up with physical activity like walking and aim for 3 hours of exercise each week.
- Get your vision checked regularly.
- Keep every area of your home well-lit. Not too bright (so that there is a glare) and not too dark.
- Keep clutter off the floor.
- Talk with an occupational therapist or your doctor about things you can do to decrease your fall risk.
- Install grab bars in your bathroom near the toilet and in the tub/shower.
- Staple down loose carpeting or put non-slip pads beneath rugs that may slip.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist to check your medications for fall risk.
- Wear rubber-soled shoes that tie/buckle/Velcro on, not slip-on shoes.
- Avoid climbing on chairs, counters, ladders, and step stools.
- Don’t get on the roof.
- Install railings on both sides of every staircase.
- Use nightlights.
- Use chairs with strong armrests on both sides.
- Use rubber bath mats in showers or bathtubs.
- Use raised toilet seats with handles on each side.
- Install handrails for any outdoor steps.
- Ask for help with large loads.
- Hire a handyman to do difficult or potentially dangerous repairs and maintenance around the house.
- Have pets stay in a separate room with a closed-door at night so they don’t get underfoot if someone needs to get out of bed.
- Use a hand-held shower head and seat in the shower.
- Replace a tub with a walk-in shower.
- Turn on the lights before walking into a room, a hallway, or on the stairs.
- Keep your cell phone with you or consider a Life-Alert type of system to call for help in case of emergencies.
Ways a Handyman Can Help Make Your Home Safer
Hopefully, you have a favorite handyman you can call on if you need help with your home repairs. This way you can get things done around your house, but you don’t have to put yourself at risk of injury.
A good handyman service can:
- Install safety bars in your bathroom.
- Install or repair railings for your stairs inside and outside.
- Apply non-stick treads to your stairs.
- Repair nails or boards that are sticking up in your deck.
- Repair an uneven patch in your patio.
- Install thresholds that sit more flush to the floor.
- Install remote controls for your lights so it is easier to reach the switch.
- Secure rugs to the floor.
- Repair uneven steps.
- Install brighter lights for the sidewalk and driveway area or inside the home.
- Install a hand-held shower head.
- Install glow-in-the-dark light switches.
Spending a few hundred dollars with a handyman company may just save you tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. And it may even add many extra years to your life.
A handyman’s work is a lot less expensive than hiring out a general contractor. A handyman can often do small jobs around the house and is a perfect fit for seniors who are on a budget or who just need help with minor repairs and maintenance.