As the baby boomer generation gets older, more and more of the population is looking at viable options for where to live as they age. For many, the wish to remain in their own home as long as possible remains at the forefront. This is called aging in place and it is a viable option for many seniors.
Here are a few useful tips about how help ensure you are able to remain independent and in your own home as you age.
Look after your health
Remaining in good physical shape is an important part of living independently. As we age we loose muscle strength and are more prone to falls, which, depending on the severity, can greatly impact your ability to live independently.
By engaging in regular low-impact activity (walking, water aerobics, tai chi, golf) and eating a balanced diet you can strengthen your muscles and help stave off potential falls and disease.
Make sure you stay in touch with your doctor and schedule regular check ups. While it may seem like a hassle, regular appointments will help your doctor detect and address any issues that might affect your ability to live independently. Keeping up with the routine of regular check-ups is critical to sustained independence and long-term health.
For many seniors who live alone isolation is a huge risk factor. Studies have shown that loneliness can have a huge impact on a person's overall health and well-being. Make sure you stay connected with friends and family. Have someone check in on you on a regular basis, even if you don't think you need it. Sometimes the best support system is a good group of friends, who are there when you need a favour or to share in a good joke.
Checking out the local seniors center for activities that may be of interest to you is also a great way to stay connected. The City of Ottawa offers lots of programs and activities for seniors who are aging in place and it is a good way to meet other people who may share some of the same interests.
Technology is something that many seniors shy away from, but it can play an integral role in helping you live independently for as long as possible. Smart technology can help you improve your home in a variety of ways.
You can set it up so that your lights, thermostat and security system are all connected to your smart phone through an easy-to-use app. Using the smart technology you can turn on lights, adjust the temperature and check the locks from miles away.
This can be very useful if you plan on returning home after dark and are afraid of tripping and falling as you try and find the nearest light.
There are lots of ways you can get involved in your community as a senior. Human beings are wired to want to contribute and this doesn't stop just because your are retired. Consider volunteering for an organization your are passionate about or getting a part time job. Anything that keeps your body and mind active will contribute to you being able to remain independent as you age.
Make sure you have a network of people that you trust to help evaluate if and when you may need more help. For some this means facing the reality of downsizing or moving into a retirement home. For others is may mean hiring people to help with daily tasks like cooking and cleaning.
You should never prioritize aging in place over your health and well-being. Having people who are close to you help you evaluate your situation as you age will ensure that you aren't sacrificing your safety or quality of life just to remain in your own home.