Many people assume they will continue living as they always have when they reach their senior years. They envision themselves living independently indefinitely. While this is the case for many people, there are a number of elderly people who are not able to. Things like falls happen, mobility becomes an issue, and there are obstacles that make it difficult overall for them to take care of themselves.
To be able to live independently and age in place requires some forethought, planning, and a few lifestyle changes to make sure it is possible. It can’t be left to chance as there are things that you can do to prevent having to go to a nursing home for your final years. In this article, we will go over some of the ways that you can make sure that you are able to live on your own terms far into the future.
1 – Use technology
Technology has given seniors an enormous helping hand when it comes to making their lives easier. There are a number of devices, for example, that will serve them well and act sort of like personal assistants so they can manage better and have the means to take care of themselves.
In addition to those devices, there are others that literally keep them safe and healthy. For example, a Life Alert system is essential when frailty sets in as falls are more likely to happen. Time is of the essence when a fall occurs so this device will send an immediate alert to the emergency services in your area. Some of them have fall detection so it isn’t even necessary to use your voice or push a button to send the alert.
Smartphones have many apps that will help a senior keep themselves organized. That helps a lot. There are reminders to take their medications so they don’t miss any days by accident. There are organizers that help them keep track of appointments and events. Some apps will also help them keep track of their activities to make sure that they aren’t sitting too much and keep moving.
Smart homes are also extremely helpful for seniors since it can take a lot of thinking and planning out of their hands and into the brains of the devices. For example, smart thermostats can help them maximize their energy efficiency and cut down on their heating and cooling bills. Many use AI technology to connect to the local weather and set the ideal temperature without anybody needing to change the setting accordingly.
Smart security systems can keep them safe at home. Since many elderly are targets for thieves and scammers, being able to see in real time who is at the door by way of an alert sent by a doorbell camera will help them avoid opening their home to unwanted visitors.
2 – Make home modifications
The biggest obstacle to your ability to live independently is surely the house itself. Many houses were not designed to aid a person with potential mobility issues. This means that you will have to modify the house to make it suitable for you to live in since it is inevitable that you will have some limitations.
You should start with at least rearranging the furniture. Try to make sure that there are plenty of flow areas where you can walk through rooms without having to go around furniture. The more open space the better so you can get by without tripping. You may need a walker at some point in the future so having space to pass is essential.
You may also need to redesign your kitchen. Put things in places where you can easily reach them. If you have to get up on a step stool to get essential ingredients from a shelf or some cookware then you increase the risk of falling and causing an injury that will end your ability to live independently.
The bathroom is also a area of high risk of a fall since it is often wet and slippery. The tile floors are very easy to slip on so it is a good idea to change the tile for flooring that offers more slip resistance. Swapping the current tub for one with high sides and a door so you can walk into it without needing to step over the sides is your best bet. A smart toilet is also a tool that allows seniors to maintain their hygiene when they have mobility issues since they clean you with a jet of water keeping you hands free.