Once upon a time life expectancy was generally poor in the Western world - you were lucky if you even made it to your twilight years! Fast forward to the present day and we have better sanitation, cleaner conditions, and plenty of fresh food and drinking water. There have been huge scientific and medical advancements and people are more interested in looking after themselves. The result? People are living longer.
Seniors add huge value to the population - wisdom, skills and a whole heap of experience - not to mention some great stories about times gone by! Old age no longer means we should give up doing the things we enjoy, and nowadays seniors are more active than ever. Our elderly relatives are keen on independent living, but that doesn’t mean they should go it alone. We can take care of our aging relations by ensuring their environment is safe, pleasant and life-enhancing, and here’s how we do it:
A Positive Environment
As we age our needs change, so it stands to reason that the space we occupy needs to change too. You might find your elderly relatives are spending more time at home, enjoying their creature comforts. By no means are we suggesting that it’s time they retire from life, shuffling off into old-age in their comfy slippers, never to leave the house again!
But if your elderly relatives are going to be at home more then it’s important to make sure that their abode feels welcoming. It shouldn’t be too light or too dark, too cold, too warm, or too loud. Air quality is important too - a home should feel airy and spacious not cramped and musty.
Out of The Shadows
Decent lighting can have a huge impact on your mood – a gloomy room can make you feel, yes, you’ve guessed it – gloomy! Don’t leave elderly relatives stuck in the shadows, try to make sure there’s as much natural light flooding in as possible.
On a grey and wet day, the lights will need to go on. Artificial lighting should offer the right level of brightness to enhance the room.
Too bright and they could give the homeowner a headache. It’s also important to keep in mind that as we age our eyesight can deteriorate, therefore making sure every room is well lit is even more important.
Adjust the Volume
Or turn it up as the case may be! Another symptom of old age involves the possible deterioration of our hearing. You might notice your elderly relative has started turning up the TV a little too high or saying “pardon?” more regularly! Impaired hearing can be problematic, but if your relative has no hearing issues then you will be even keener to ensure their environment is free from too much noise pollution.
Getting enough rest is important regardless of your age, but as we get older our sleep patterns can change. Older people often sleep less deeply at night, and are prone to waking up more often. This can lead to earlier bedtimes or the need for a daytime nap. A noisy road, nearby loud pub, a busy shop that’s open late across the street, or thin walls combined with a noisy neighbour can all cause problems when you’re trying to rest or get some shut eye.
It’s essential we keep fresh air circulating through the home – great for your elderly relatives as fresh air can improve mental and physical well-being. It can also help to boost the immune system and ensure blood pressure levels remain healthy. It’s no secret that our brain power can diminish as we age, but the good news is that fresh air can improve concentration and cerebral function.
Studies have indicated that as we age we also get colder – this explains why mature ladies and gents sometimes feel chilly. This is caused by a loss of thermoregulation (we cannot sustain our body temperature as well as we did when we were young and sprightly)! The circulation also diminishes - blood vessels become less flexible, causing blood flow to slow. This mean we get colder, faster. Add to this that the layer of fat beneath our skin starts to thin too, and the fact that we are more prone to illnesses and medical problems that could cause our bodies to behave differently.
How Can We Create a Smart Home for Seniors?
You want to take care of your elderly relatives, but not in a way that’s overly pushy. It would be good to be able to keep an eye on things from afar. How about discreetly collecting data that could help you to monitor and optimise their environment?
There’s a sensor that can tell you about temperature, lighting, noise, air quality and humidity. Allow us to introduce you to the clever cube developed by GreenMe - an innovative service which aims to assess environment quality. A sensor can offer peace of mind, leaving you safe in the knowledge that you can provide a Smart Home that’s a safe haven for seniors.