Aging in place is a term used to describe living independently within one’s home, community, and society. Many older adults have found that aging in place can offer them greater independence than in retirement communities or nursing homes. Seniors who age in place by choice live their twilight years happily.
There are several reasons why aging in place may be better for you or your loved ones. Some of these are having a social life, lower cost of living expenses, and maintaining a sense of control over one’s environment. These benefits outweigh any potential risks associated with aging at home alone, such as isolation or injury from falls. You can also avoid the downsides to aging at home. Here are some tips for doing so.
1. Age-proof your home.
Install grab bars in the bathroom, nonslip mats in the shower and bathtub, and lights with a dimmer switch. Ensure that no steps can trip you, including the entryway. Doorways and corridors must be wide enough for walkers and wheelchairs, even if you do not use these yet.
2. Always have your mobile phone with you.
Anywhere you are at home and at any time of the day or night, have your mobile phone with you. Hang it around your neck with a lanyard. It will enable you to call for help in an emergency.
3. Live near a family member.
Some families build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) in their yard to house an elderly family member. That is ideal because your family can look after you. If this is not possible, choose a home as near as possible to someone in your family who is willing to check on you regularly.
4. Get regular check-ups.
Make sure to schedule regular check-ups with your doctor to stay on top of your health. Some tests, such as screenings for cancer and heart disease, should be done every year.
5. Manage your medications.
Take your medications as prescribed, and do not stop taking them without consulting your doctor. Be sure to keep a list of all the medicines you are taking and their dosage and frequency. Provide your family with this list.
6. Use assistive devices when needed.
Many devices are available to help seniors live independently, such as walkers, canes, and raised toilet seats. If you need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), ask your doctor or health care provider for a referral to a home health agency for a home aide.
7. Get hospice care if needed.
If you are sick and need constant medical care, you can get hospice care at home. Medical professionals will visit you daily to check your condition and administer medications or therapy.
8. Take care of your health.
Exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, stay hydrated, and get enough sleep. Try to do exercise every day, even if it is just a short walk around the block. Make sure you are getting enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit your intake of unhealthy foods and drinks. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, especially water. Dehydration can cause health problems, such as urinary tract infections and constipation. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day to help regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm. Most seniors need between seven and eight hours of sleep each night.
9. Keep your mind active.
Challenge your mind with puzzles, crosswords, and brainteasers to keep it active and engaged. Learning new things can help ward off memory loss and dementia.
10. Find a helpful pet.
Pets can provide companionship and help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Choose a pet that is easy to take care of and does not require a lot of exercise, like a cat or small dog.
11. Socialize with friends and family.
Socializing is a vital part of keeping your mind and body healthy. Talk to your friends and family about what is going on in your life. Listen to their stories, and share your own.
12. Join a social club.
The best way to combat loneliness is to join a social club. Many clubs for seniors offer activities such as card-playing, dancing, or crafts.
13. Stay informed about current events.
Reading the news and discussing current events with friends and family can help keep you mentally stimulated. It is also an excellent way to stay connected to the world around you.
14. Manage stress levels.
Stress can have adverse effects on both your physical and mental health. If you feel overwhelmed or stressed, take a break to relax and rejuvenate. Take a hot bath, read your favorite book, or take a walk outdoors. You can also try yoga, aromatherapy, and journaling. Find what works best for you and make time to relax and de-stress each day.
15. Keep a positive outlook on life.
No matter what life throws your way, try to maintain a positive outlook. That will help you stay happy and healthy both mentally and physically. Laugh often. It helps release tension and stress. Watch funny movies, read humorous books, or spend time with friends who make you laugh.
Aging in place is the choice of many, but it can have some challenges. Follow these tips to help make your life easier and more comfortable. Keep your home safe, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and stay hydrated to help maintain your health. Have regular consultations with your doctor and take your medications. Socialize often and remain positive. If you find need assistance, ask for it. And if you are sick and need bedside medical care, hospice care is available at home. With these tips, your coming years spent aging in place will be joyful.