Have you considered what you’ll do once you reach senior citizen status? Perhaps you’ve decided that term is a moving target, running several years ahead of whatever your current age is — sounds like a plan to me! However, in the interest of family and friends, making your wishes known about where’d you prefer to live is a good thing. And, for most people, staying in their home is their main wish, goal, or plan. Letting go of one’s independence is a difficult option and not one that most would want. So, how can you make that wish possible? Here goes:
First, what does aging in place mean? You’ve likely read and heard about that phrase in advertisements. As defined by the US Center for Disease Control & Prevention, aging in place is “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”
How can you ensure that you can stay in your home? Taking some preliminary steps can help make that possible and provide you and your family with peace of mind.
- Make Modifications to your Home: According to studies, about one-third of all seniors over 65 experience a fall. To prevent falls and increase general safety around the house, consider the following:
-Remove rugs and any clutter around walkways or high traffic areas.
-Store items you use daily in easy to reach places. In other words, stay off step-stools -and ladders.
-Install handrails on stairways (interior and exterior) — and be sure to always use them.
-Install handrails in all baths and showers.
-Consider installing handicap or at least taller toilets with a rail.
- Home Maintenance Needs: Adjust your budget to pay for things you used to do for yourself, such as cleaning, mowing, or general home repairs. Perhaps you won’t need to adjust all these at once, but research and find the service you plan to use when it becomes necessary. If possible, set aside the monthly costs so that when you need to start using that particular service, you have funds readily available.
- Transportation: This is a touchy subject for most senior drivers. The willingness to give up driving is difficult at best and devastating for many seniors. Remember the joy of getting your driver’s license? Imagine being told you’re no longer able to react quickly enough to drive safely. Making your own plan for how you’ll get around versus being told is perhaps the best option.
Making a plan to address your desire to age at home is personal. There are so many options available, such as in-home caregivers, medical alert options, home check-ins, and more. Ensuring that you remain safe and comfortable in your home and that your family and friends know you’re well-cared for is a win-win any way you look at it.