Getting older doesn’t have to mean that you are helpless or dependent, but it does mean that you’ll have to think a little more carefully about your living arrangements. The older you get, the more prone you will be to having medical emergencies. Even if you take good care of yourself, you may also develop mobility issues or have problems with your sight or hearing that make it harder to do the things you do now.
You don’t have to move into a retirement community or a nursing home. You can continue to live at home on your own with the right planning. Here are a few of the best things that older people can do to keep living independently and safely:
Sign Up for a Medical Alert Service
You don’t have to have current medical problems to consider a medical alert service. A stroke can strike people of any age and leave them incapacitated. So can a heart attack. And, of course, accidents like a choking or a head injury from a fall can happen to anyone also. Any person living alone should consider a medical alert service, but it is especially important for aging individuals who will be more at risk.
Personal emergency response systems usually provide a bracelet or other device that lets you easily call for help if you need it. You can be assured that if you are in a life-threatening situation, you will have the help when you need it, even if you are alone.
Modify Your Home as Needed
Maybe you are having a harder time than you used to getting up the stairs. So you move your bedroom to one of the downstairs rooms. Or maybe you aren’t as steady on your feet as you used to be. So you install a grip bar in the shower or next to the toilet.
How you will need to modify your home depends on your current medical needs and what you think you might need based on your personal medical history and your family history. You’ll also need to take your home’s current features into account.
Move to Condo or Townhome
You don’t need to move into a retirement community, but you might want to consider moving to a condo or a townhome. The reason is that these homes are going to require far less maintenance than a traditional, single-family home. The organization that manages the property will take care of the lawn maintenance and things like updating the exterior, fixing the roof, and servicing the HVAC system.
These are things that you don’t want to have to deal with as you get older. Plus, having a smaller home allows you to minimize your day-to-day responsibilities.
Use a Rideshare
As you get older, you may have problems with your vision or hearing, or you may even suffer memory lapses. These issues can make it harder and less safe for you to drive yourself. Instead of confining yourself to home, you can get where you need to go by signing up for a rideshare service.
You can use a popular paid service like Uber, or you can sign up for a community rideshare program that uses volunteers or special funding to provide the rides for free.
Get Grocery Delivery Services
Buying groceries can be a chore when you get older, especially if you have trouble driving. Those same mobility or memory issues can make it hard for you to carry heavy bags, to navigate narrow aisles, or to remember important things that you need to buy.
Sign up for a grocery delivery service to save yourself the trouble and to preserve your safety. Many grocery stores will offer the service for a nominal fee, so you don’t have to worry about how it will impact your budget. You can also call ahead for curbside service for free in many cases.
Getting older doesn’t have to mean giving up your independence. But it does mean that you have to be realistic about your limitations and how they will impact your day-to-day activities. You may not have to give up your freedom, but you do need to make adjustments to ensure your safety and that of others.