Options for Successfully Aging in Place

Now that you’re in your golden years, your family may be concerned about your ability to live independently. On the other hand, you want to hold on to your independence and remain in a living arrangement that doesn’t involve constant supervision. If your health permits, you should be able to do just that. You’ll likely have to make modifications to your home to make it safe and accessible, but once you do that, staying in the home that you love is a viable option. 

The Safe and Accessible Home

With the right precautionary measures, you can create a living environment that reduces the risk of injuries and makes everyday tasks more manageable. This will help you feel more confident in your ability to age in place and may put your loved ones’ minds at ease. Since 60 percent of falls experienced by seniors occur in the home, taking steps to reduce this risk is essential.

Here are some ways to accomplish this:

  • Ensure that there’s adequate lighting in staircases and handrails on both sides.
  • Use a no-step or compressible rubber threshold to lessen tripping hazards.
  • Safely position cords to reduce the chance of tripping over them.
  • Non-slip mats in the bathtub will reduce the risk of slipping.
  • Carpet on stairs and area rugs should be secure and/or have non-slip grips.
  • Don’t polish floors with slippery wax.

For more safety tips, the AARP has an excellent guide to home modifications for older adults. It shows you, room-by-room, what changes are important for keeping seniors safe.

Living independently also means being able to perform most tasks on your own. In your golden years, this may not be as easy as it once was. There are modifications that can make your home more accessible and everyday tasks more manageable.

  • Install a toilet seat riser so that it’s at a higher, comfortable height.
  • Ensure that your kitchen has a work surface that allows you to work while seated.
  • Switch out turn-style knobs for lever touch or sensor faucets.
  • Place washer and dryer on platforms for ease-of-use.
  • Seating in the shower will help you to bathe comfortably.

Other Housing Options

If you want to live independently but not necessarily live alone (for financial or social reasons), there are other options that you should consider.

Get a Roommate

Do you know another senior who’s open to sharing a home? You could share the living expenses and keep each other company. It’s a win-win situation.

Other Affordable Housing Options

Throughout the country, there are senior living apartment communities that offer a plethora of amenities, but these often come with a high price tag. You don’t want to spend your entire monthly income on rent, so you may want to consider HUD’s 202 Supportive Housing Program. It’s geared towards adults aged 62 and older, and participants pay 30 percent of their income for rent.

The Village-to-Village Network offers invaluable resources and support for seniors to age in place. Membership in a village allows seniors to connect with vetted providers of everything from transportation to home repairs. It’s a one-stop-shop for successfully aging in place.

Staying Healthy

To maintain an optimal quality of life in your golden years, you’ve got to stay on top of your health. Keeping scheduled appointments and following doctors’ orders is essential. But what if you’re no longer able to drive and close relatives work during the time of your scheduled appointments?

While traditional Medicare covers emergency and near-emergency services, transportation to doctors’ appointments isn’t covered. To get this benefit, switch to a Medicare Advantage plan, which partners with ride-sharing services to help seniors get where they need to go.

Modify and Connect

Making your home more safe and accessible is a great start to living independently. Take advantage of the many resources in both the private and public sectors to feel more competent and self-sufficient. You can then tell family members they needn’t worry — you’ve got it under control.

Photo Credit: Pexels

from Hazel Bridges, AgingWellness.org