As far as organizing advice for seniors is concerned, the best advice I can give is to recognize that as you age, your body and mind change, and you have to pay more attention to organizing your environment and yourself as you may have done in the past.
As an octogenarian, I find that my body doesn’t always keep up with my mind and I have to make certain adjustments. Although we may hate to admit it, we become frailer and more susceptible to falls the older we get. And our bones are usually more brittle as well. So keep your home relatively clutter-free. Avoid placing furniture or other obstacles in high-traffic area. Don’t wear hard-soled shoes and avoid having loose throw rugs on the floor.
Most office accidents happen when people trip over electric cords or drawers left open. So make sure there are no cords in the way. And I suggest hanging folders in a frame or step files as opposed to filing cabinets. I have 3 step files that hold about 100 action folders.
The major causes of fires in the home include leaving on a curling iron or heating blanket or an electric heater too close to flammable material – or an unattended burner or stove. I think it would be a good idea to have a checklist to go over each night before retiring – such as pull the plug on electric heater, turn on nightlights, lock door, etc. I’m a great believer in checklists.
I think seniors should keep a checklist of all the prescription and over-the-counter medications they take. Include supplements and vitamins. For each medicine, mark the amount you take, the time of day you take it, and whether it should be taken with food. Store two copies of the list: one on the refrigerator door or where your medications are stored, and one in your wallet or purse.
Some people are notorious for keeping old medications. Periodically organize your medicine cabinet and toss out all the expired and unused stuff. You should store things in the room they are used. For medications, that could be the kitchen. Highlight the expiry date on all your medications. Use pill containers that have separate compartments for morning, afternoon and evening, and fill them with your week’s medications every weekend.
Keep a copy of all medical records in a clearly marked folder. Make it a habit to request copies of all test results, X-Rays, and treatments.
If I were to write a list of tips for seniors, I would include such things as:
• Avoid multitasking. Finish one job before starting another.
• Write things down. Keep a journal. Write notes to yourself.
• Organize your environment, put structure in your life, & develop routines.
• Keep a planner updated. Record every appointment, activity or commitment as they are confirmed. (I prefer a paper planner)
• Keep a photo album with names of friends and relatives clearly marked.
• Take an afternoon nap – around 3 pm if possible. That’s good advice for anyone.
• Have a place for everything, and return it to that place after use.
• Avoid caffeine at bedtime and finish your walk at least two hours before bedtime.
• Get up the same time every morning.
• Keep practicing those skills you don’t want to lose. Habits are helpful as you get older.
• Get involved in associations, causes, volunteer groups, travel.
• Associate with younger people as well as people your age.
• Keep your mind active by doing crossword puzzles, taking courses, reading, playing games.