Though many choose to downsize or move as they get older, aging in place is becoming more popular.
Seniors who choose to stay in their current homes should plan to ensure that they can age in place safely and economically.
Make home safety a priority
We all need a little help keeping our longtime homes safe spaces.
When you moved into your current living situation, you may not have considered some home planning choices that could help aging in place easier. But it’s not too late.
Here’s a few things to consider:
Install bathtub grab bars or shower safety rails, also rubber mats to avoid slipping
Hand-held showerheads and shower chairs can also help you safely maneuver bath areas
Remove all throw rugs or extension cords from the middle of your floors
Avoid clutter in general, throw out unnecessary items and keep an open floor space to avoid falls
Kitchen or pantry items that are used often should be placed in lower cupboards
Keep emergency numbers on hand, as well as the phone numbers of family, emergency contacts.
Install ramps or stairlifts if necessary (portable ramps are available for those who only need them occasionally)
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
For seniors over 65, one of the most common causes of injury or death is falling.
25% of seniors report a serious fall each year. Falls are more commonly seen in seniors who decrease their movements as they become older. Keeping active as you age can help prevent these falls. Brisk walking and other light exercises can help.
Also, keep an eye out for any medical conditions or medications that may lead to falling. Postural hypertension is one such condition, while certain medications may also contribute to senior balance.
Also having your vision checked, as well as your feet, may help.
Communicate to family your plan to remain in home
Think you’ll need a little assistance aging in place? Talk to family members about your plans. Younger relatives or friends can help us as we age by assisting with groceries and other errands.
Most importantly, by providing companionship and emotional support, through visits, phone calls, and check-ins.
Let’s embrace technology as we age
Tech isn’t just for younger generations. There are many technology options to help seniors who want to age in place.
Apps. Occasionally forget to take medications? Yes, there is an app for that. Go to the Apple Store or Google Play store to find a pill reminder app that works for you. There are also other health apps monitoring everything from blood pressure and heart rate to specific medical issues.
While some of these apps can be found on app stores, many may be recommended by your physician.
Use Grocery delivery services. There are also a variety of companies offering grocery delivery, meal kits, and more.
Wearable devices, like medical alerts may seem new but seniors have been embracing these wearables for years. These alert devices usually look like pendants or bracelets and often have cellular or GPS services that will alert a security system if a client falls or indicates they need assistance.
Our company, 3rd Act Medical Alerts is a medical alerts provider. We offer wearable medical notification devices that alerts local emergency services if a client has fallen or is experiencing a medical emergency that requires care. You can find out more about the FDA certified, GPS-enabled senior medical alerts from 3rd Act here.
You may also opt for smart home devices that can also help you with your shopping, TV watching/streaming services, surfing the web, and other tasks.
FYI: Don’t forget utilizing lo fi tech like the AARP. The AARP is a senior advocacy organization with a magazine and a website loaded with tips for seniors on dealing with various issues, including aging in place.
Look around your community
Many state and local governments have councils on aging or other senior organizations that collect regional, state and national information vital to seniors. These agencies, often run as a municipal agency or as a nonprofit, offer a wealth of information on senior housing, senior rights advocacy, help with utility bills. They may also offer info on signing up for social security, other state/federal benefits including Medicaid and more.
Some may also provide resources connecting seniors to home care aid and provide info on other senior-related assistance. For more info: https://www.usaging.org/
A few last tips
If you (or someone you know) is older and need meal assistance, consider contacting Meals on Wheels. The organization provides meals at a sliding cost, ranging from no cost to low cost, depending on recipient need. For more information: https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org
Lastly, though HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) is more well known for its housing options, its website also has info for those who already have homes. Go to their website if you have questions on reverse mortgages, and other housing/home credit issues. Also, if you are a senior currently living in HUD housing, or someone who wants more info on how to qualify.