Aging in place — staying in the comfort of your home as you age — can be one of the best decisions you can make. Nursing facilities have their perks, but if you or your loved one wishes to achieve tranquility, staying at home is the way to go. To learn more about aging in place solutions and what you can do to prepare both yourself and your home for the future, continue reading.
Step One: Prepare For Physical Changes
Growing older comes with many physical changes. For example, you may notice your hair thinning. Balding is normal among men and women. However, you can help prevent it by taking the proper vitamins and massaging your scalp to stimulate the hair follicles. Women can also get their hair cut into layers to create the illusion of fuller hair.
You may also notice your eyesight start to weaken. You should see your doctor if your eyes are struggling to focus. This can be caused by presbyopia, which occurs when the lens within the eye becomes less flexible over time.
The muscles in your arms and legs may start to weaken as well. This phenomenon, called sarcopenia, may begin at around 75 years of age. Proper exercise in your 50s and 60s may prevent this, so if you’re still able to move around comfortably, take advantage of your mobility and start an exercise regimen.
You may also notice your teeth falling out. Ask your dentist or orthodontist about dentures so this doesn’t hinder your quality of life. Dentures will allow you to continue to eat the foods you love and socialize with others unencumbered. However, just remember to clean them each night, so they can last you years. Proper cleaning of your dentures also ensures your mouth stays clear of dangerous bacteria. If you’re worried about being able to afford them, know that your health insurance may be able to cover 50% if they offer a restorative dental policy.
Step Two: Make End-of-Life Arrangements
They say there are only two unavoidable things in life: taxes and death. Let’s talk about the latter. After all, you’re never too young or too old to plan your funeral arrangements. If you find the topic difficult to think about, talk things through with a close family member. Knowing what to expect can also help you get through this tough decision-making process.
If you need a quick crash course in funerals, quickly browse through these guidelines.
- Plan but don’t pay in advance. You should have a general idea of what you want for your funeral, but your mind can change, so hold off on paying a large sum of money ahead of time.
- Don’t have to stick to your first choice. Shop around. While it may feel awkward to say no to a funeral home, you’re absolutely allowed to explore your options.
- Ask for an itemized list upfront so you know exactly what you’re paying for. Funeral homes may offer packages, but you may be paying for services you don’t want — so it’s always best to be direct and ask.
Step Three: Prioritizing Aging in Place Solutions
That’s enough talk of death, now it’s time to consider how you want to spend your life currently. Aging can take a toll on the human body and there’s no shame in asking for help. Aging in place solutions ensure that you can live your life with complete freedom and proper care. Here are some more benefits to consider.
One key reason to consider aging in place solutions is that your family will be able to visit whenever they please. They won’t have to wait for visiting hours, or waste time signing in to see you.
Another benefit associated with aging in place solutions is that you’re allowed to have pets. Some retirement homes may have strict policies surrounding animals, but since you’re staying in your home, you can adopt a loving emotional support animal.
Lastly, one grand benefit of aging in place solutions is that the area is familiar and comforting. Moving to a senior center can cause a lot of stress, and uncertainty. Staying home, however, allows you to keep up with your normal day-to-day routines. You lessen the chances of you falling and getting hurt since you’re so familiar with the layout of your home. And if you have in-home care, your caretaker can assist you in case of an emergency.
If you opt for home care, you may have to make a few upgrades to your home to be more accomodating. Enlist the help of a family member, and implement a few of these ideas to ensure you stay safe and comfortable.
Exploring Aging in Place Solutions: What Changes Should You Make?
Add smart home devices
Install smart home devices through the home. These devices can callow you to call people, set reminders, play music, and turn the lights on and off through voice command. You won’t have to get up and walk across the room any longer.
Widen hallways and doorframes to accommodate wheelchairs
Manual wheelchairs can help you get around faster if you find that walking from place to place is too draining. Alternatively, you may find that you experience health conditions that significantly impact your mobility down the line. Therefore, make your home more accommodating to suit your needs and widen the hallways so that you may move around with ease. Installing ramps around the inside and outside of the home is also another great idea.
Install residential lifts to navigate stairways
Climbing stairs can become more burdensome as you age. You also don’t want to risk falling. But having residential lifts installed to make going up and down the stairs a breeze. It’s also convenient since you’ll be able to move around the house quickly. Lastly, it can also look quite stylish in the home.
Clear out the clutter
Having clutter littered throughout the home can affect your peace of mind. But when your home is clean, your mind is able to relax and not focus on the trash piling up. Enlist in junk removal services to keep your home looking neat and tidy while preventing potential accidents.
Sorting through your things may take some time. However, donate anything you believe is still in decent condition, like clothes, electronics, and knickknacks. You can stop by a thrift store or even sell some of these things online. However, recycles and garbage should be removed promptly.
Adjust the location of appliances
Most senior centers have cafeterias and large kitchens to accommodate the staff and residents. However, if you choose to receive your care at home, make sure your kitchen is up to par so that friends and family can cook when they visit. Look into new appliance installation that will accommodate your evolving needs. You may also adjust the location of certain appliances to make navigating the kitchen easier. For example, if the cabinets are too high or too low, ask a contractor what they can do about shifting them down to a suitable height to make achieving independence even easier.
Add better lighting throughout
Adding better lighting throughout your home also helps prevent falls. It can also help you perform tasks around the house with ease. Need to finish up that crossword puzzle? You can’t do it in complete darkness, so switch out the bulbs in your home.
Install grab bars, shower seat, non-slip flooring in bathrooms
Most falls can happen in the bathroom, so make sure to eliminate any risk factors. A sit-in shower is safer and is also much easier to get in and out of on your own. Non-slip flooring in the bathroom also cuts your risk of getting hurt. If you wish to look further into non-slip flooring, consider these next few options to make the journey to your tub safer:
- Non-slip vinyl
These are all excellent options, but keep in mind that carpet can be a bit tricky to clean. Talk to a contractor to determine the best flooring for your needs.
Install a home alert system
This can be helpful if your spouse might not hear that you need help. Of course, you should take them in for a hearing test if you fear that they are losing their hearing to make sure both of you are safe in case of an emergency.
While you can do everything in your power to make your home a safe space, accidents can still happen. Therefore, you want to be prepared. Install a home alert system, so that you can alert authorities in case of a fall or break-in.
Hire a lawn care service
If the work around the house and around the exterior of your property is getting to be too much to handle, you may want to hire a lawncare and tree pruning service to make the front of your house inviting. That way, you can maintain a beautiful yard without having to do any of the work yourself. While you might be able to putter around the garden right now (and doing so can be good for your health), preparing ahead and securing those services now can ensure there’s no interruption later on.
Some Final Words on Aging in Place Solutions
Aging in place solutions can combine quality care with complete freedom. While you should make arrangements before you pass on from this world, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy those bountiful years left. Spend them with family and friends — while planning ahead for your twilight years. If you look into modifying your home now and seeking the best care possible upfront, you’ll minimize life disruptions later.