These are the times when so many older adults prefer to stay at home as they age. According to AARP, ‘nearly 90 percent of seniors want to remain in their homes as they age’.
Many have lived in their homes for decades. They have raised families there, made friends there and established roots in their communities. They know the lay of the land in their surroundings. They are comfortable with the neighborhood.
I’ve often heard the term, getting older is not for sissies. You may have aches and pains, your vision may be declining, you don’t have as much energy as you used to. You can no longer do the same things you did when you were younger, or you just don’t want to continue to do them. Having said all this, it doesn’t mean you want to move to a retirement community. You may prefer to stay at home.
There are some things to consider in order for you to age in place in your home comfortably and safely for many years to come.
There are different kinds of support that we as humans need at all stages of our lives. When you decide to stay at home, support can mean different things. A solid support system includes the following:
- Enough income to cover expenses – rent/mortgage, taxes, insurance, home maintenance, medical bills, prescriptions, home healthcare, hobbies, etc.
- Family and friends – they are a critical piece of your support system. Socialization with your peeps goes a long way to keep you in good health both physically and mentally. They may be able to help you with some things around the house so that you don’t have to hire services. Or they may be able to recommend good quality service providers. They are there for you when you just need someone to talk to and vice versa. We all need companions to take walks with, dine with, catch a movie or plan a trip, or so many other things.
- Quality healthcare – if you don’t already have a primary healthcare provider, check with friends and family for recommendations. Even if you don’t yet need a primary care physician, it’s better to have someone lined up for when you do need one.
When you stay at home, you need to make sure your home is both comfortable and safe to maneuver through your daily activities. There are companies that you can hire to assess your needs and make recommendations to retrofit your existing home based on their assessment. Here are some points to consider that are relatively inexpensive:
- Remove all throw rugs, or make sure the edges are under heavy furniture so they don’t slip and become a tripping hazard.
- Install grab bars in bathrooms in the shower and near the toilet.
- Replace handles on doors and faucets that are more comfortable for you.
- Install light activated night lights around the house.