The Thriver’s Guide: Making Being Home Alone an Accessible Reality

December 26, 2014

This winter has come with a vengeance and I know that in the weeks and months ahead, I’ll be spending more time enjoying the comforts of my home. Over the years, I’ve learned from experience that putting a few safeguards in place reduces my stress and improves my safety. Perhaps you’ll want to incorporate some of my ideas as you plan for when you’re home alone.

In my Amigo® scooter basket, I carry a cordless telephone and my cell phone with me because if the power goes out, my cordless telephone won’t work.  And as an extra precaution, I also have at least one hard-wired, (old fashion corded), telephone that does not require electricity for it to function.

To improve my safety around the house and reduce fatigue, I use high intensity lamps and light bulbs or task-lighting lamps.

Like me, you may want to consider installing motion detector light switches that automatically turn the light on when you enter a room and off when you leave.  Look for devices that have a 15-second or more time delay so if used in the bedroom, you can safely get into bed before the lights turn off.  Devices should also have a manual override feature that allows you to operate the light switch normally if you choose to do so. (Motion detectors are also available for exterior lighting as well and can help you maneuver sidewalks, driveways and garages safely at night. Motion detectors and switches start at about $25.00. Look for them at your local hardware or home improvement store.

Control lights from your bed or easy chair with the IntelaVoice dimmer. This voice activated switch plugs into the wall outlet; you plug your lamp into the switch and with a simple voice command, tell the lamp to go on (low, medium or high) and off. Multiple devices may be programmed to operate different devices in the same room without interfering with each other. Look for these devices at home improvement or hardware stores. For more information, contact VOS Systems Inc. at  858-679-8027;

When I’m chilled and can’t seem to get warm, I toss a blanket into the dryer and tumble it for a few minutes. The heated blanket feels so good and helps me warm up.

If you must go out to a doctor’s appointment, be aware that taking certain prescription medications can make it difficult for you to adapt to extreme temperatures, making you more susceptible to hypothermia.  Contact your pharmacist to determine how medications and health conditions might be adversely affected by winter weather.   If you must go out, consider keeping a battery-operated blanket in the car to keep warm.

I know that when I feel cooped up, I can easily slide into a depression.  It helps if I plan an easy, simple project to keep you busy.  I plan one “clean out” task daily (or 2 or 3 if I’m feeling ambitious!)   I match the tops with bottoms of plastic containers, wipe out the silverware drawer, go through my desk and throw out unnecessary papers.  Need other ideas?  Clean a shelf or two in the refrigerator or organize the medicine cabinet.

How will you keep yourself safe and sane this winter?

Stay Connected

Sign up for updates straight to your inbox.