The CDC defines aging in place as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.” Most older adults prefer to age in their homes as long as possible either living independently or with the help of a caregiver. There are a few things to keep in mind, however, when planning on aging in place. Below are some tips on how to age in place safely and comfortably.
Modify Your Home
The common household contains many risks to older adults, whether it’s a slippery shower or clutter throughout the home. If you’re going to be aging in place, it’s important to make your home as safe as possible. Some ideas include:
- Getting rid of slippery throw rugs
- Installing a banister on the stairs
- Clearing clutter on the floor
- Increasing the lighting in your home
- Applying non-skid flooring in your shower
- Installing a stairlift
Get a Medical Alert System
A medical alert system can offer you and your loved ones peace of mind, knowing that help is just a click away in the case of a fall or emergency. A medical alert system doesn’t need to be complicated. Many devices can be worn around your neck or kept in a pocket and activated with the click of a button. You can easily speak into the medical alert system and be connected with an emergency response center that will answer your call. The medical alert center will send help right away and stay on the call with you until help arrives. Some systems even come with automatic fall detection that can detect a fall and call for help if you are unable to press the button yourself.
Develop a Supportive Community
Aging in place can be isolating, especially if family doesn’t live nearby. That’s why it is important to develop a network of people you can trust to help you and keep you company. Put together a list of neighbors and friends you can easily call if you need to be driven to a doctor’s appointment or run an errand. Many non-profit organizations also offer assistance for seniors, such as Meals on Wheels or help with transportation. Connecting with others can help prevent the isolation and depression that are common among older adults who are aging in place.
Try Out New Technology
Technology can be intimidating for many older adults but it doesn’t have to be. Getting acquainted with a smart phone or tablet can make life easier by giving you access to the internet and helping you keep in touch with people. With new technology, you can do things, such as order your groceries online, arrange for transportation to an appointment, or video chat with a friend or family member who lives far away. Many smart phones and tablets allow you to enlarge the words on the screen, making it easier for you to see.
If you plan on aging in place, make sure to do so safely and ensure you have all your needs at your fingertips. With a few of these tips and modifications, you can live an independent lifestyle while still staying connected with your community and family. Aging in place doesn’t have to be isolating.