With people living longer and healthier lives, there is a growing movement focused on aging in place, or living independently in one’s home for as long as senior citizens are able to keep up with the physical and cognitive demands of maintaining their own residences.
The day-to-day activities in the typical senior citizen’s home demands the same energy, dexterity and easy access needed in other households. But limits in mobility or health conditions may make it more difficult for seniors to keep up without homes that are designed to accommodate their needs.
According to AgingWithGrace.com, most American senior citizens choose to stay within their own communities rather than move when they retire to places with warmer climates. Less than 5 percent of American seniors over the age of 65 reside in a nursing home, the website reported.
That means the vast majority have chosen to age in place and maintain their own residences, and that number can only increase as the aging population grows. The Administration on Aging estimates there will be about 72 million seniors in the United States by 2030, which is nearly one-fifth of the U.S. population. Already seniors account for about 13 percent of Americans.
National Senior Independence Month is celebrated in February to focus on the concerns of elderly Americans, and counts aging in place as one of the most important aspects of growing old while maintaining an independent lifestyle.
Make the home safer
Maintaining a safe residence for older individuals often means making adjustments to the environment to allow for their physical limitations. For instance, medications and necessities needed on a daily basis should be accessible. If seniors must use a step stool to reach something, they risk taking a fall that can cause an injury.
Keeping the home free of clutter that can be tripped over is another way to prevent accidents. Tight spaces such as hallways should be wide enough for seniors to get through easily. In addition, having door handles and faucets that are simple to operate helps elderly people who have dexterity problems.
At the same time, MatureLifestyles.com states that seniors should use their environments to stay in shape. Chair exercises provide physical movement for arms and legs while sitting on a stable piece of furniture. If mobility isn’t a problem, seniors should use the home’s stairways to maintain leg strength. Doing household chores keeps the home clean and provides physical activity that keeps them fit.
Being in better physical condition takes pressure off the heart, but also builds confidence for seniors who want to manage their own homes for as long as possible.
Stay active for best health
Developing a healthy lifestyle while aging in place includes eating a balanced, nutritious diet, staying active and visiting one’s doctor regularly. Taking a dietary supplement such as OmegaKrill from Dr. Newton’s Naturals, which promotes good brain health, joint comfort and normal blood pressure levels, is another anti-aging step that seniors can take.
But elderly people should also strive to keep their cognitive and social skills in shape. They can do that by learning new things, including using technology to keep them up to date and in touch with younger members of the family. Taking part in an arts program allows seniors to explore their creative sides and joining a book club at the local library helps them meet people with similar interests.
Becoming involved in social activities prevents older people from becoming isolated and allows them to share the wisdom and lessons they’ve learned over the years. Some communities, for instance, encourage seniors to volunteer in local schools.