by Jennifer Clark, Care & Safety Team Coordinator
Aging changes everyone. No matter how much we take care of our bodies through diet, exercise and keeping our minds sharp, aging changes us. Realistically, it is inevitable that we will experience physical, mental, and emotional changes as we age, including vision issues, hearing loss, decreased mobility, coordination, and strength.
These changes affect the daily life tasks of older adults, such as bathing, getting up at night to use the bathroom, or just walking around their homes. To avoid these roadblocks, we can plan and prepare to increase independence, build confidence, and “Age in Place.” With the rising costs of Assisted Living settings and nursing home care, many older adults choose to remain in their homes for as long as safely possible.
Aging in place takes planning to prepare for needs that could arise over the years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the most common cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for individuals 65 and older. By implementing simple changes and minor modifications to the living space, we can effectively decrease the likelihood of falls and hospitalizations. Creating well-lit, functional, and clutter-free areas are affordable methods that older adults can utilize to make swift changes.
Senior Services – Senior Safety Team helps older adults make these changes. Over the last 16 years, the program has provided more than 4,032 safety items to older adults in Midland County. The past year, our team of volunteers have provided 568 hours of service, completed 371 safety projects helping 339 older adults. While the program has been called “Team Handyman,” we have sharpened our focus on safety by renaming the program Senior Safety Team.
What tasks can the Senior Safety Team do?
- Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
- Secure slip hazards inside the home
- Add or secure handrails
- Replace ceiling light bulbs
- Install anti-slip surfaces in the bathtub or shower
- Install grab bars
- Assist with green address signs making it easier for emergency services to locate your home
- Install raised toilet seats or toilet safety rails
- Install hand-held showers or shower safety seating
- And more……
Tasks Senior Safety Team is unable to do:
- Install ramps
- Roof work
- Floor replacement
- Wash windows
- Eaves replacement or cleaning
- Lawn care or snow removal
- Any job which is outside of the available talent of volunteers currently available
- Any job outside of Midland County
Labor and parts are free to older adults in Midland County who own their homes. However, donations are greatly appreciated and are used to help expand the program. If you need assistance with projects outside of the scope of the Senior Safety Team, give us a call and we can provide information and resources that may be helpful.
For more details about Senior Safety Team, please call 989-633-3742 and you’ll be on your way to a more safe and secure place to live!