Physical health and mental well-being safety tips for older adults
Many older adults (age 65+) live at home, often with varying health and social care needs. If this is you, you’re not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there are currently 54 million people in the U.S. who are age 65 and older. It’s important to take care of your physical and mental health to stay safe at home.
If you’re an older adult living on your own, here are a few tips to maintain your physical and mental well-being and safety:
Make your home fall proof
Every second of every day, an older adult (age 65+) suffers a fall in the U.S.—making falls the leading cause of injury and injury-related death in this age group. Many falls can be prevented. You can lower your chances of falling by:
- Removing things you can trip over (like small rugs, books, clothes and shoes) from stairs and places where you walk. Keep your floors clutter free.
- Using handrails and improving the lighting in your home to make it easier to see when you’re walking on staircases.
- Installing grab bars next to and inside the tub and next to the toilet.
- Regence Medicare Advantage plan members receive a $100 annual allowance for bathroom safety devices like this. Check your health plan benefits to see if this might be a covered benefit.
Regular exercise can help prevent falls from happening by improving your leg strength and balance. A bonus to exercise is it also improves your mental health, as it reduces anxiety, boosts self-esteem and improves cognitive function.
Physical distancing to avoid exposure to COVID-19 caused a lack of social interaction which exacerbated feelings of isolation among older adults throughout the pandemic. A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) suggests nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated. Connecting with people plays a vital role in health and well-being, so continue finding opportunities to connect—even if that means phone calls or video chats.
- Eligible Regence Medicare Advantage plan members can receive companionship and support through Papa Pals, a program that pairs qualifying members with non-clinical volunteers who provide companionship and assistance with everyday tasks, such as grocery shopping, pharmacy pickup and technology support.
Watch Regence Executive Medical Director Dr. Jim Polo share more tips for staying healthy: