Tips on How to Remain Safe in Your Home During COVID-19
COVID-19 requires that we spend more time at home. This makes it more important than ever to have a safe and comfortable living space, especially for older adults and individuals with disabilities most at risk for COVID-19. Rebuilding Together and the American Occupational Therapy Association weighed in on top tips for how you can remain safe in your home during this challenging time.
What can you do to remain safe in your home?
Make changes to safely move around your home without falling.
- Remove unnecessary throw rugs and clutter to reduce the risk of falling.
- Repair or replace furniture that isn’t sturdy.
- Reduce electrical cords through a surge protector power strip.
- Keep cords away from walking paths.
- Avoid using a stepstool in the kitchen.
- Move heavy items or things you use regularly to easy-to-reach places, such as the lowest shelves.
- Use a reacher to avoid bending over or standing on a stool.
- Immediately clean up spills to prevent slipping.
- Do not hold onto the sink or towel rack in the bathroom for balance. These are not designed to bear weight. Consult with an occupational therapist or Rebuilding Together affiliate for grab bar options and installation.
- Increase lighting to reduce shadows by using LED bulbs.
- Make sure outside entryways are properly lit so you can see where you’re stepping.
- Avoid stumbling in the bedroom to the nearest switch by having lights easily accessible from the doorway and the bed.
- Consider motion-activated lights and night lights.
How can you stay connected with family and friends?
Stay engaged virtually and check in regularly if you have access to internet or phone.
- Staying in touch and socializing with loved ones is important. Along with calls, consider setting up apps such as FaceTime, Skype, or Google duo that allow you to see friends and family through a video if in-person visits are unsafe.
- Although in-person social activities are limited, there are many options for interesting online activities. Do an online search for opportunities in your interest area, such as museum tours, guest speaker webinars, and online games. Have you checked out the National Zoo Panda Cam?
- Stress is at an all-time high for many people. Intentionally take time to relax, and look into virtual relaxation techniques (e.g., Headspace: Meditation & Sleep).
- Maintaining your physical and mental health remains a priority even if in-person appointments are limited. Many providers are providing telehealth or appointments by phone.
- Share your schedule with friends and neighbors, and set up a regular call time so others will be alerted if something has happened to you.
How can you stay physically active?
Keep moving on a regular basis to maintain overall strength, endurance and balance.
- Focus on activities around the home that you enjoy and keep you active, such as gardening, walking, cooking, or dancing.
- Consider chores like washing the car or cleaning your home to increase strength and endurance. Carrying shopping bags can help to increase balance.
- Contact your local senior center, area Agency on Aging, YMCA, Meal on Wheels program, or local Parks and Recreation Department and learn about physical activity programs offered online or on the TV. Look into exercise videos on YouTube.
- Learn the latest on how exercise and physical activity can help you stay healthy as you age from the National Council on Aging. Find tips on how to fit exercise into your daily life safely.
About Us—Rebuilding Together
Rebuilding Together is a national nonprofit organization with more than 30 years of experience in home and community rehabilitation, preservation, and revitalization. Since 1988, Rebuilding Together has leveraged 4 million volunteers and $1.86 billion in cash and in-kind resources to repair and rehabilitate more than 200,000 homes, nonprofit facilities, and community spaces, improving the lives of an estimated 6 million low-income neighbors in need.
About Us—American Occupational Therapy Association
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is the national professional association established in 1917 to represent the interests and concerns of occupational therapy practitioners and students and to improve the quality of occupational therapy services. AOTA educates the public and advances the profession by providing resources, setting standards, and serving as an advocate to improve health care.
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