How to Help an Elderly Loved One Feel More Independent

Aging in place has its challenges, especially for elderly adults who experience a gradual decline in their self-sufficiency. There are many tools you can use to help senior citizen friends and family feel independent and secure in their homes. Read on for an in-depth look at how you can support your loved ones as they age in place.

Why Aging in Place Can Diminish Self Confidence

The goal of aging in place is for your loved one to experience freedom and confidence in their own home as they grow older. Seniors overwhelmingly prefer to age in place rather than other housing options, including assisted living spaces or nursing homes. An AARP “Home and Community Preferences Survey” reports that just over 90% of adults aged 50 and over prefer to live in their own homes long-term[1]. Aging in place often gives seniors more autonomy and agency than other living options provide.

The ability to age in place requires some adjustments – to your loved one’s home and their own expectations. Even though your loved one will maintain much independence by aging in place, they might still need some support while at home. If your loved one needs help with some parts of their daily care, it might make them feel embarrassed, stressed, or angry. You can help mitigate these feelings by creating an environment that helps your loved one feel more in control.

Easy Ways to Help a Loved One Feel More Independent

You can increase your loved one’s confidence as they age in place by using these helpful tips. The aim is to reduce risks while still providing space for your loved one to feel autonomous and capable. Some lifestyle changes are more involved than others, but the easiest ones, like investing in a medical alert system, take only a few minutes to complete. 

Investing In a Medical Alert System

A personal emergency response system empowers seniors no matter where they are.

Since your loved one has chosen to age in place, you might want to consider medical alert systems with fall detection technology. If your loved one falls and no one is around, the fall detection feature can sense the fall and connect your loved one with immediate assistance.

Some medical alert system options for your loved one include:

All of these devices have the option to add fall detection technology. Some seniors and their caregivers might prefer the comfort that fall detection technology can provide. The In-Home + On-the-Go medical alert system covers all your loved one’s bases and can increase confidence outside of the home, too.

Alert1 button alarms come in a variety of wearable options. Your loved one can style it as a lanyard, necklace, watch, or bracelet. You can even attach a medical alert system to a belt if you prefer.

Online Shopping

Although there may be a learning curve involved, setting up accounts so your parent or loved one may order groceries, pharmacy items, and other household goods from internet retailers can be a welcome respite from physical shopping. Especially given the current winter season and covid pandemic, teaching seniors how to shop online and receive home delivery is a safe, easy, and convenient alternative to in-person purchasing.

Creating a Nonslip Environment

Falls pose a huge risk to seniors’ health and wellbeing. Simple changes around the house can reduce your loved one’s chances of falling and, ultimately, increase their sense of confidence. Your parent or loved one should always be able to move around the house without fear of falling.  

A loose rug can cause your loved one to fall. If your loved one uses a cane or walker, slippery rugs are even more of a threat[2]. However, rugs are expensive, and you might be hesitant to switch out your household rugs entirely. You can opt for a nonslip layer between the rug and floor for fall precautions. Double-sided carpet tape and adhesive corner grips hold carpet edges in place and keep them from curling. 

Nonslip rug grips reduce risk of falling and are an affordable upgrade for the home where your loved one will be aging in place. 

Additionally, household clutter should be removed such that tripping hazards are eliminated.

Upgrading The Bathroom

Bathrooms pose many fall risks to older adults[3]. Slipping in the tub or shower, getting on and off the toilet, and navigating a wet bathroom floor can cause your loved one to fall. The good news is that there are several modifications that can make your loved one’s bathroom a safer place. 

Some bathroom upgrades you can make include:

  • Installing grab bars. Balancing can be more difficult for senior adults, especially when using the toilet and navigating the shower. Place grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower for balance support. 
  • Installing a shower seat. Some seniors find it easier to sit in the shower rather than stand. A shower seat allows your loved one to relax and focus on the shower itself instead of worrying about falling.
  • Using nonslip bathroom mats. You should put nonslip mats in the shower. Another great spot for nonslip mats is right next to the sink since the floor tends to get wet there.
  • Raising the toilet seat. Sitting down and getting up from the toilet poses a challenge for many seniors. A raised toilet seat makes going to the bathroom less of a fall risk. Installing grab bars and a raised toilet seat provides extra protection.
  • Building a walk-in shower. This upgrade is on the more expensive side but could prevent shower-related injuries. Entering the shower is often difficult for seniors. It is not always easy to lift legs up and over the tub’s edge. A walk-in shower is more senior-friendly.
  • Building a wheelchair-accessible sink. Again, this is a higher-cost investment. If you have the means, building a wheelchair-accessible sink can reduce fall risk in the bathroom. You might consider installing an accessible sink even if your loved one does not use a wheelchair at present. Upgrading a bathroom is an investment for future injury prevention. If your loved one starts to use a wheelchair later in life, then they will be able to access the sink easily.

Cleaning with a Robotic Vacuum

Home maintenance becomes harder and harder as you age. Vacuuming and sweeping can feel exhausting to an elderly adult. A robotic vacuum automatically sweeps up floors, making sure the area is free of dust and dirt. This device can also work as a fall prevention tactic, as it helps keep floors clear. 

Using a robotic vacuum allows seniors to maintain a tidy space without the physical stress of cleaning. Sometimes, a clean home is a source of pride. Robotic vacuums can help seniors feel confident in their home.  

Creating An Open Line of Communication

Creating a plan for aging in place requires strong communication every step of the way. You want your parent or loved one to feel heard and supported.

One way of assuring support to aging parents or loved ones is through medical alert system protection. With the push of a button, 24/7/365 help may be accessed any time of the day or night that it is needed—for any reason.

Help your parent or loved one select a medical alert system that corresponds to their lifestyle, interests and budget. If your loved one enjoys taking walks around the neighborhood, you might consider an On-the-Go Wrist Watch Medical Alert + GPS + Pedometer. For those who mainly stay indoors, a simple In-Home Medical Alert System will do just fine.

Assuring a “back-up presence” for your loved ones, especially if they live alone or have fallen, provides invaluable peace of mind to the entire family, knowing help is always standing by.





[1] Binette, Joanne. Nov. 2021. Where We Live, Where We Age: Trends in Home and Community Preferences. Where We Live, Where We Age: Trends in Home and Community Preferences.

[2] Rosen, Tony, Mack, Karin, Noonan, Rita. 2013, Jan. 5. Slipping and tripping: fall injuries in adults associated with rugs and carpets. Journal of Injury and Violence. Slipping and tripping: fall injuries in adults associated with rugs and carpets.

[3] Conley, Mikaela. 2011, Jun. 9. CDC Report Shows Bathroom Injuries Cause Thousands of Visits to ER. ABC News. CDC Report Shows Bathroom Injuries Cause Thousands of Visits to ER.