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What Do Older Adults Face? (And How to Help!)

In college, I took a class called, "Biology of Aging" with great curiosity. The class revealed detailed facts on the decline of every body system throughout the aging process. The recently deceased Philip Roth gave a quote to adequately sum up my overall feelings of the course, "Old age isn't a battle; old age is a massacre." Although it gave me a somber perspective, the class allowed me to be more empathetic and understanding of an older adult's experience while working as an occupational therapist in skilled nursing facilities.


The aging process can be a barrier to a person's ability to be as independent as they used to be. Here are a few examples of barriers to every day living:



  • As we age, our sensations (i.e. eyesight, touch, smell, taste, hearing, balance) diminish making it more difficult to be aware of potential harm in our homes and community.

  • There is an increased risk of falling with potential to damage paper-thin skin or break bones plagued with osteoporosis.

  • The medications prescribed for heart problems, diabetes, sleep problems, or allergies can make older adults feel dizzy when standing up and moving around the home.

  • Seniors feel insecure about urinary incontinence while going out into the community with the fear of having an accident in public.

Fear not! Aging is not a doom and gloom story. 

This article is not meant to make you feel depressed or sorry for older adults! I am writing this to show you why life is different as we grow older. The good thing is there are A LOT of things we can do to help ourselves stay safe and independent in our homes.

Here are the top three things to look at for yourself or someone you know at home:

Zero step entry: Innovate Building Solutions

Zero step entry: Innovate Building Solutions

1) Look for one entryway into the home with NO stairs. This is called a zero step or zero level entry. Why is it important? Because no stairs equals less chance of falling! It's so handy when you're carrying groceries or laundry in and out of the house!

2) Examine the toilet. Are you struggling to get on and off of it? A history of back, knee, shoulder, and hip problems may make toileting more difficult in the future. If so, call an occupational therapist to help you find the right solution for your specific needs and bathroom set up. In my experience, everyone has different needs to keep toileting independently.

3) Consider having an occupational therapist give safety recommendations for the shower! We look at factors like the type of shower, shower faucet, water controls, flooring, color contrast in the bathroom, secure seating, and a person's ability to shower on their own (and how to keep it that way!).

Barrier free shower: Access Solutions

Barrier free shower: Access Solutions

If you make changes to the entryway, toilet, and shower, I guarantee improved safety and independence for older adults at home. I am very passionate in helping people remain in their homes for a lifetime. Won't you consider taking a look for yourself or family member today?