In Order to Age in Place, You'll Need These 6 Things
"Aging in Place" is a relatively new term that refers to the current trend of the elderly being able to stay in their homes and live independently for much longer than ever before. Baby Boomers are finally able to grow older in their own home thanks to timely preparation, new technologies, and careful consideration.
However, everybody is different. Some people have no problem living alone into their 80's, while others require preparation. To age comfortably in place without heavily relying on your loved ones, you'll need to establish these six things.
1. Safety-proof your home
In order to comfortably age in place, start by preparing your home to accommodate your needs, both present, and future. It can be as simple as tacking down slippery rugs, installing handrails and nightlights, and adding a non-skid surface to your staircase. It sometimes helps to have a select pair of non-slip shoes that you only wear in the house to make it easier to prevent accidents. You should also take care to check your smoke detectors, appliances, and water fixtures and have a fire extinguisher handy at all times.
2. Stay active and eat healthily
Studies show that regular exercise and a healthy diet can lower your risk of sustaining an injury from a fall by 10-20%. Regular exercise helps with balance and joint health, but it's also good for your mental health and can lower your risk of developing Alzheimer's. Simple stretches, puzzles, walking, and reading are all great ways to stay physically and mentally active. It's also important to eat right as you get older, since exercise is nothing without diet. Eating colorful, whole foods will help you get the extra vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy and active. Whole foods help with memory and blood flow and help to regulate sugar and cholesterol levels. Vitamin C and beta-carotene are especially crucial for the elderly as they can help keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear. They can also help keep your skin healthy and reduce your risk of developing a chronic illness
3. Have a sense of community
We all know that it takes a village, and having a strong sense of community is crucial to your health and happiness as you age. How you develop that sense of community is entirely up to you since your community can consist of many types of people. It can be made up of family members that live nearby, fellow church-goers, long-time friends, home care providers, sewing circles, and more. We all go a little stir crazy without social interaction and it’s not possible to age in place without people who love you and will regularly check up on you.
4. Get a personal emergency response system (PERS) and use it.
A PERS device can give you and your loved ones a stronger sense of peace of mind. PERS devices have a simple, one-button operation and can call friends, family, your caretaker, or 911 at the press of a button. By having a PERS device on your person at all times, you can ensure that you can get help in an emergency, such as an injury. To age in place, you should also mount PERS devices in high-risk areas, like the staircase or bathroom, should you need to call for help after an injury if the device isn't on your person.
5. Use technology
More and more technologies come out every day that are designed to keep the aging population comfortable in their homes for as long as possible. Technology is making it possible for families to stay at home together much longer than ever before and is often much less expensive than assisted living facilities. Technologies for the population of the country that are aging in place can include PERS devices, medication dispensers, stove sensors, bed pads, and telehealth equipment.
6. Set up your living will and power of attorney
It can be a little uncomfortable to discuss end-of-life topics with your loved ones especially when you are in good health, but this is a necessary step so that it doesn't become a scramble when you get sick later. Start by developing a living will and pick a power of attorney. Talk with your loved ones about your accounts and your lifestyle and that changes are to come. Make sure you are all on the same page with each other about your wishes and desires for the end of your life.