HealthBeat: A safe home for seniors


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As we age, our body may go through changes including things like vision, balance and hearing.

And that can make living alone dangerous.

Judith A. Ryan moved into her senior living apartment in 2014 after her husband passed away. Before moving in she served as the CEO of Good Samaritan– helping others make the transition into senior living.

“Trying to think with others about what kind of changes could be made in the home setting that would make it more safe. And it’s a pleasure now to live in one in which many of those things are true,” Ryan said.

Now, she herself has adopted changes in order to make sure her home is safe. Martha Frohwein says whether you’re moving into a senior living environment or staying in your home, it’s important to make adjustments.

“It’s important to recognize to remove throw rugs, or you have the non-skid surface underneath them. To make sure if you have cords to make sure they’re tucked away so that you don’t get caught in those,” Frohwein said.

She also suggests staying active to improve strength, while also giving people the opportunity to meet others. In addition to fitness classes, Ryan says she keeps all rooms very open in order to make it more accessible.

“I also try to keep the kitchen organized in such a way that what you’re going to do is in one place. Because what you have to avoid like anything is doing two things at once,” Ryan said.

She does utilize a rug in the winter, but she’s sure to keep a non-skid placemat underneath. She also keeps a spare pair of shoes close by after a doctor gave her this advice.

“Don’t ever get up and go barefoot at this point. It is so easy you can catch a toe on the edge of the shower, you can get caught in something,” Ryan said.

Catching your toe on the shower is one thing, but falling in the shower is another.

“There’s a grab bar on the wall, a grab bar on the back wall, a grab bar on the front wall and a stationary seat,” Ryan said.

Which she says makes bathing much safer.

Having handles in the bathroom can help avoid a fall, but even if a fall does happen, having a way to call for help close by is important.

That’s why her home offers two separate alert buttons, one in each bathroom. Ryan says it’s important to take accountability for your own safety, adding that her senior living home gives her the chance to be safely independent, while also surrounded by support.

“And so, community, and sharing together this experience of getting older has just been a critical thing to experience,” Ryan said.

The Good Samaritan Society offers various options for senior living.
For more information, click here.

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