Nobody dreams about one day ending up in a retirement home and unable to care for themselves. The dream is to live independently for as long as possible so you can enjoy your twilight years. It’s the time to dive into the hobbies that you never had time for and to spend as much time doting on your grandkids as possible.
You can’t just assume that you will be aging in place as a senior citizen and able to stay in your home and live on your own terms. It actually takes careful planning and thinking ahead. There will be things that you have to be actively doing to ensure that you are able to live alone and the way that you like. In this article, we will go over several things that you need to do so you can live independently for as long as possible.
1 – Embrace technology
There are a lot of new devices and software that act as aids for senior citizens so they can still manage to take care of themselves. By embracing technology you will be able to keep yourself independent in ways that seniors in the past were not able to do. For instance, living with hearing loss is not as challenging as it used to be thanks to advances in hearing aids. Some of them are smart and can be connected to your smartphone to make them even more effective and easy to use.
There are apps that will help you stay organized so that you never miss a doctor’s appointment or forget to take your pills on time. You can use your smartphone for all of these types of apps so you essentially have a caretaker right in your pocket.
In fact, you can even have a personal trainer in your pocket when you use a fitness tracker that will give you the ideal workout routine for your age, body type, and ability so you can stay active and fit. The key to health is to exercise and seniors are especially vulnerable to foregoing exercise.
Fitness trackers remind you when to get up and start moving around. They can also monitor your stats such as heartbeat and how many calories you’ve burned.
Your home can also be smartened up which can help you. A smart security system will protect you at your most vulnerable stage in life. There are doorbell cams that will alert you to any movement that is happening outside your home so there are no surprises. Smart locks will also help you in case you ever forget your keys and lock yourself out. You can simply open the door with your phone instead of a key.
2 – Modify your home
Your home will likely be the biggest obstacle to your plan to live independently. This is because it was not designed to be lived in by somebody in their elder years. When you set it up it was first for when you had little kids and then to be comfortable when the kids were grown.
Now you’ll need to give it a redesign again so it doesn’t impede your ability to live in it. For instance, you will likely need to make sure that the furniture doesn’t block the passage from one room to the next. You’ll also possibly need wide spaces to maneuver with a walker.
The bathroom is another area that is important to change. For starters, you should change the tub to one that has wide walls so you can walk into it and then sit down. These have doors as you see in ships that seal when closed. You simply walk right into the tub instead of needing to swing your legs over the side. A seat inside will allow you to sit while you wash and avoid a slip and fall.
Another way to avoid a fall is to install a bidet for elderly and disabled people. This helps you clean up after using the toilet without needing to use your hands. This helps avoid having to twist around which causes people to lose their balance and fall off the toilet.
Lastly, look into buying furniture that will help you avoid falls. Recliners that lift you up to an almost standing position will allow you to stand up without straining yourself. The same thing goes for a bed that’s adjustable.
3 – Get some help
Having somebody come and help you around the house is going to make sure that you can still live independently. A cleaner should come and do the heavy work such as your laundry and the deep cleaning. Limit yourself to things like doing the dishes and light housework so you don’t strain yourself. Having a cleaner come once a week will keep the house in good shape and allow you to take it easy.
The same goes for the heavy yard work. Don’t try to mow and trim the hedges yourself. It’s best to get a landscaper to come regularly and take care of it so you don’t have to risk injury doing such heavy work.
Also, don’t be afraid to call out for food once in a while so you aren’t forced to cook every meal that you eat. It’s also nice to splurge and indulge in having somebody else do the cooking once in a while.
4 – Stay connected
A very common problem among the elderly is that they often get isolated. To avoid this happening you will need to make an effort to stay connected. Make sure to reach out to people when you haven’t heard from them for a while. They will be delighted to hear from you and will often make plans to come to visit.
Look into local clubs that you can join so you have a social circle of other seniors that you can see on a regular basis. If you have a hobby then this is an obvious way to stay social with like-minded people.