AGING IN PLACE
A lifetime of wear and tear on the mind and body can make it difficult to live alone beyond retirement. But there are many DIY fixes that can extend your independent years. Here are a few you can handle yourself, even on a small budget.
Unfortunately, with each passing year, your eyes become a little less able to utilize available light. Install bright white light bulbs throughout your home, which will help you distinguish depth and color. Graying With Grace explains that lighting should be fully adjustable. You can also add light strips under the kitchen and bathroom cabinets and motion-sensing lights along the interior
and exterior stairways.
Like the eyes, our joint and muscles tend to decline with age. This can make it more difficult to easily navigate obstacles, such as an uneven threshold. The AARP explains that seniors can benefit from handrails on both sides of the steps and stairways. The organization’s HomeFit Guide also asserts that showers should have a step-free entry and that carpeting is secure and
in good condition. If it’s time to replace the floors, consider having the same type of flooring installed throughout the home. This will prevent issues transitioning from one flooring type or floor height to another.
No matter your age, home security should be one of your number one priorities. When you live alone or aren’t in top physical condition, you should include more than just basic home protection strategies. SeniorLiving.com explains that a home security system will not only deter potential criminals but can be an invaluable asset during a medical emergency. You can also
add a smart device, such as Amazon’s Echo or Show or the Google Home, so you can make phone calls with your voice.
If making modifications to your home isn’t an option, such as if you rent or simply aren’t handy, it may be necessary to move to a home that better fits your needs. Redfin’s home search feature offers the option to filter by accessibility, price, and residence type. In the Chandler, AZ area, the median list price is $350,000 and you can find many housing options at or below that point.
Before you start your search, create a checklist of “must have” items. This may include a wheelchair ramp, single story property, or home with lower counters and cabinets.
In addition to minor home modifications, there are minor lifestyle changes you can make that will enable you to better care for yourself and keep you out of harm’s way. If, for instance, you find it more difficult to drive, switch to having your groceries and medical supplies delivered. Not only will this keep you off the streets, but will free up precious time to pursue other endeavors. When
taking medication becomes an issue, talk to your pharmacist about compounding to reduce the number of pills you must take. If you’re on an aspirin regimen, consider switching to a dissolvable product, such as those found on SolvesStrips.com. These tasty and easy-to-take strips were designed for stroke victims who have difficulty swallowing traditional medications.
Drinking and smoking should also be limited with age and you’ll need to pay attention to your diet. Silver Sneakers recommends filling your fridge with blueberries, Greek yogurt, avocados, spinach, mixed nuts, and salmon. These foods can be added to your diet to provide energy, fiber, and to support muscle maintenance and slow cognitive decline.
While there is no surefire way to estimate how many birthdays you’ll have, it’s best to plan for a long life. Whether you choose to stay in your current location or find another place that fits your needs, make safety your number one priority and you will likely enjoy many more flips of the calendar.