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The Best Advice for Older Adults Hoping to Age in Place

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When you look to your golden years, what are your plans and desires? If you are like most Americans, you want to remain in your own home, safe, healthy, and independent for as long as possible. Here’s important advice to help you achieve that goal.

Embracing changes

According to research, the vast majority of Americans want to age in place, even if that means they need to make multiple in order to do so. Thankfully, there are numerous methods for improving both your lifestyle and living environment in order to remain supported and safe as you grow older.

Become better equipped

Outfitting your home with some basic, safety-oriented equipment can be a cornerstone in your plan for ongoing independence. Note that Medicare will cover some equipment if it meets particular criteria, such as being medically necessary, used in your home, and durable. In fact, that equipment is referred to as Durable Medical Equipment (DME), and items such as walkers, chair lifts, and canes fall under that description. Grab bars are a common home installation for many seniors, and while Medicare does not cover grab bars, some Medicare Advantage plans may begin covering them soon. You can check what is available to you by clicking here.

Consider these safety equipment options, which Seniors Matter points out are services available through Habitat for Humanity:

  • Wheelchair ramps. Wheelchair ramps can mean being able to enter and exit your home comfortably and safely if your mobility wanes. Many people find ramps useful as they grow older, even if they do not use assistive devices.
  • Grab bars. Installing grab bars in areas like the bathroom can help you catch yourself if you should slip.
  • Bathtub replacement. Replacing a bathtub with a seated shower helps many seniors when accessibility becomes a concern.

Habitat for Humanity can also potentially assist you with maintenance concerns, such as roof repairs, plumbing leaks, and certain remodeling needs. Along those same lines, it’s also possible to get assistance with energy efficiency issues, such as improving house insulation and window replacement.

Self-help ideas

There are many things seniors can do themselves to improve their living environment. Clearing your walkways of slipping and tripping hazards is a good start, such as area rugs, magazine racks, and ottomans. Also consider improving your lighting, especially in dim hallways, landings, and corners. Use as much natural light as possible, and consider installing brighter light bulbs and additional lamps, night lights, and task lighting. If you have a shower stall, a shower chair and handheld shower head can keep you more comfortable for washing.

Another way to reinforce your safety and independence is through exercise. By improving your strength, flexibility, balance, and reflexes, you can help yourself stay upright if you should trip or get off-balance. If you have mobility limitations or are nervous about falling, there are seated exercises you can do as well. Always talk with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program, and be sure to ease into things. Exercise should help you feel better, and not hurt.

Smart and independent

Many seniors are intimidated by modern electronics, but smart home technology offers several enhancements worthy of your consideration. Morning Call suggests gadgets such as smart lights, a smart doorbell, and a home monitoring system. If you feel comfortable, it’s possible to DIY smart home devices, or some tech-oriented big box stores will install devices for a fee when you purchase the electronics from them.

Many people want to remain independent throughout life. Thankfully, there are things you can do to support that aim. Make sure your living environment is safe, add some helpful gadgets, and take care of your physical condition. With a solid plan, you can enjoy independent home living as you grow older.