Safety Tips for Senior Citizens Living Alone

Photograph courtesy: Viji Venkatesh/

Many seniors live alone these days, some out of choice while others live alone out of necessity. Whatever may be the reason, ensuring safety is imperative. Here are a few quick tips to lead a safe and independent life.

Stay healthy — Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the key to leading an independent life. A healthy diet along with age appropriate exercise is a pre-requisite for maintaining good health. If on medication, follow the prescribed schedule of medicines and keep your date with your doctor as warranted by your health status. These days many products are available in the market that can help you remember your medication schedule by days of the week or time of the day. E.g., a simple pillbox with separators can help you arrange your medicines according to day and time. Make use of these products if you are prone to forgetting your medication schedule. Reminders on your phone can help you remember not just your medicines but also your doctor’s appointments among other things.

Stay organized — A very important aspect of staying alone is also staying organized, especially with documents of importance like your medical reports, medical history, prescriptions, etc. Maintain a file with all these documents and keep it accessible. It is also important to keep the emergency contact numbers handy and in plain line of sight. Jot down your blood group, allergies, current medication and the telephone numbers of your physician, nearest hospital, near and dear ones to be contacted in case of emergency and place them in a visible location, e.g., on the fridge. An abridged copy of the same could be carried in your wallet as well.

Stay safe — One needs to safeguard oneself against both internal and external factors.

Most accidents happen at home in the case of seniors, so it is important to make your house less accident prone, to the best extent possible. Remove any rugs, wires or furniture that you may trip over. It is advisable to have anti-skid tiles in the bathroom or use ant-slip mats when using the bathroom. Installing grab bars in the bathroom can also prevent any inadvertent slips.

To ensure safety from external factors, ensure your doors and windows have good locking mechanisms. Get deadbolts installed on your doors and grills on your windows. Keep your nearest police station informed so that they can check in on you when on beat. Keep flashlights and batteries handy. Many mobile phones with an alarm facility for emergencies are now available in the market. They also alert the listed emergency contact numbers when activated.

Stay connected — Connecting with your neighbours and fellow seniors in the community will not only elevate your social quotient but can also be helpful in dealing with emergencies. It is a good idea to identify a couple of people in your community who you can check in with on a daily basis and who are likely to look out for you in case of your absence. They could even be entrusted with a spare key to your house if you trust them completely. You could include contact numbers of these friends as well on your emergency alert list. If your elderly parents live alone, connect them to other people and encourage them to attend events and activities organized by eldercare service providers.

Simple measures like the ones above can prove to be very effective in abetting an independent yet safe life. Be safe and be healthy!

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