5 Ways Senior Homeowners Can Age in Place
Many senior homeowners, at some point, are forced to make major decisions regarding their future lifestyle. They will begin to think more about their quality of life in their later years in terms of physical comfort and overall happiness. While some choose to relocate to a community designed for seniors just like them, others are fortunate enough to age in place.
What is aging in place?
According to the CDC, the definition of “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.
What does aging in place mean for senior homeowners?
Aging in place means that these senior homeowners are forced to make changes that can present a variety of benefits and challenges unique to that person’s specific lifestyle. The most common challenges refer to the physical, social and emotional needs an elderly person may have to help them maintain a balanced life. If this applies to you or your loved one, try using these five tips to successful aging in place.
Prioritize home safety and maintenance
One of the first things every individual aging in place should do is review the safety of their surroundings. It’s not uncommon for elderly homeowners to experience physical issues or mobility problems as time goes on. These complications make it harder to tend to their homes. Doing a home safety check can drastically reduce any future risk of an accident or fall. After your safety check, try making modifications to your residency where it seems fitting. Implement features such as grab bars, non-slip floor surfaces, or even personal alert systems that enable you to call for help.
A large population of senior homeowners have a hard time tending to common home complications that can arise. However, it’s imperative to prioritize home maintenance as you age in place— your livelihood and health depend on it. For example, if your HVAC system is causing heating issues you physically cannot attend to, professional help is essential. In this specific case, a home warranty policy could help cut out the middleman, leading to a much quicker fix and making your living quarters much more comfortable for aging in place. Be proactive and have plans in place that will help you solve structural problems that naturally arise in your home.
Consistently monitor your health
Aging in place can become much easier when you consistently monitor your health. The healthier you are, the more you can tend to your home and even yourself. It’s important to recognize if you have a chronic health condition, or a certain condition that requires advanced accommodations. It is crucial to attend regular check-ups, keep personal logs, and carry out screenings and to engage in preventative medicine practices.
Living a healthy lifestyle is another way to make monitoring your health that much easier. One of many great tips for healthy aging is to stay physically active and stick to a nutritional diet that can improve your overall well-being. Try switching and maintaining certain lifestyle habits that can help provide nutritional value. See a professional nutritionist or physician in order to find the most valuable information. There are tremendous benefits to reimagining the way you eat, exercise, and even rest.
Use technology to your advantage
Senior homeowners often lack the technological prowess it takes to complete certain assignments. It’s important to ask for assistance and to understand the basics of certain pieces of technology. When aging in place, stay virtually and physically connected with your family, friends, and especially your community. Ask your family, friends or even a professional for help, the technological gap can cause unwanted stress for seniors.
As an elder, you don’t need to become a computer genius to complete some of your most basic projects. It helps to understand the baseline functions of your smartphone or digital tablet. With assistance, you’ll be able to understand what’s going on in your community and beyond. These tech tools can also provide messaging and video-chatting programs that can help keep you connected from the comfort of your living room. This can also include access to several helpful services such as grocery delivery, medicine delivery, and even taxi services.
Create a plan for transportation
For some senior homeowners, getting from one place to another can be a relatively daunting task. Depending on their age, medical condition and willingness to leave, some elders are forced to find other ways to get from place to place. It’s vital to be able to get out and driving yourself is only one of many options to get you where you need to go. But if driving is out of the equation, it’s critical to create a transportation plan.
Communicate to your friends and family about your struggles and see how they may be able to help with setting up rides or even a schedule. Next, look into what public transportation is available to you. It’s also best to familiarize yourself with ride sharing services such as Uber or Lyft. In order to branch out, it’s important to understand these services because it can be frustrating to stay in one place for a long period.
Consider long-term insurance
One of the most critical things to remember about aging in place is that although your location of residence won’t change, other things will. For example, as you grow older, your healthcare needs tend to change at an unpredictable rate. Everyone aging in place will ultimately need some form of long-term care. In this case, have a policy in place for when many of these eventualities occur. When it becomes difficult to walk up the stairs, or when you can no longer drive, you will most likely need to implement some form of home care.
At the moment, Medicare does not pay for ongoing long-term home care. In order to find peace of mind, conduct basic research to find several alternatives such as a long-term care policy or LTC insurance. This type of insurance helps cover the costs of a chronic medical condition and/or a disability generally not covered by health insurance or Medicare. This will make a major difference when it’s the right time to consider home care.
Happy Aging in place
Similar to everything else in life, aging in place can have its pros and cons. It’s about deciding what is best for you and your future. Clearly understanding any hardships or factors that may impact your livelihood will ultimately help you age in place to the best of your ability! And remember that you’re never alone!