Do you ever find yourself going down the YouTube rabbit hole, where you end up watching video after video? This usually starts with me searching for something relevant to what I’m doing and then ending up at a music video someone made about their cat or watching Taylor Swift crying over a banana after her Lasik surgery (that’s a good one, you should really check it out). But the other day, I came across an awesome TedTalk about how to help elderly loved ones age in their own homes safely, and I had to share.
Dr. Roger Wong is a world renowned advocate and educator for advancing senior care and well-being. He is a geriatrics doctor, clinical professor, Executive Associate Dean, and the 13th president of the Canadian Geriatrics Society. He gave this TedTalk in 2018 about helping our elderly loved ones age in place. This topic became important to him after he watched his grandma get moved into a care facility prematurely, and her standard of living and happy attitude diminished.
Here are some of the major takeaways from his speech on how to help your elderly loved one age in place for longer.
Make their home a safe space by eliminating hazards
It’s important to take a look at their home and optimize it for senior living. That means ridding the house of tripping hazards. Some simple first steps include taking away door mats, replacing carpeting with wood floors, and buying anti-slip footwear for them to wear around the house. Dr. Wong jokes that if they particularly like their door mat, then you can hang it on the wall.
Keep them up to date on technology while they’re still capable
Dr. Wong stresses the importance of teaching our elderly loved ones how to use their smartphones, apps, and devices like Alexa while they’re still capable of learning. This can help with communication as well as engrave these skills into their minds which can help with dementia later on.
Dr. Wong also discussed how the advancement of technology can help us keep an eye on our elderly loved ones aging in place through IoT devices. CarePenguin is a great way to non-invasively monitor the wellbeing of aging parents by detecting activity in their home through water use. It takes five minutes to install, no motion sensors, cameras, or wearables needed. If you think you and your family could benefit from CarePenguin, it is now available exclusively on our website. See what our customers think of CarePenguin.
The importance of socialization for older adults
The last main point that Dr. Wong makes in his presentation is the importance of socialization as older adults age. “Loneliness is the new smoking,” he said. Elderly people feel isolated, and the COVID-19 pandemic just made it worse. However, as the world begins to open back up, senior citizens have the opportunity to safely get back to socializing. Dr. Wong shared that Tai Chi is a great way for older adults to not only improve their balance and mobility, but also to socialize.
While face-to-face interactions are extremely important, Dr. Wong also mentions that social media does wonders for older adults’ happiness. Social media sites such as Facebook provide a great way for them to connect with friends and family from the comfort of their home and feel involved in other people’s lives.
If you have 20 minutes to spare, I would definitely recommend watching the whole TedTalk. It makes me feel hopeful for the next generation of aging adults who can take advantage of the advancements in technology that enable them to age in place safely.