Aging in Place: Strategies to remain independent at home
Maintaining independence at home as we get older is called “aging in place.” Most older adults prefer to stay close to family and friends and where they are familiar for as long as possible. However, doing so requires careful consideration, thoughtful decision-making, and planning. The best time to develop a plan to age in place is before in-home services and supports are needed.
Let’s look at a few helpful tips to help you get started.
- Take a good assessment of your home to ensure it is safe, accessible, and easy to maneuver around. Remove potential fall hazards such as electrical cords and scatter rugs. Move everyday items such as clothing, dishes, food, and other necessities within easy reach. Use nonslip mats in your bath or shower and have grab bars installed to lessen your chances of a fall.
- Lighten up your home by placing night lights in your bathroom, bedroom, and hallways. Place a lamp beside your bed and a flashlight within easy reach for use in a nighttime emergency. Be sure to keep your cell phone handy as well.
- Clear all entrances, exits, and stairways of clutter and debris and make sure they are also well-lit. Be especially mindful in winter, when snow and ice can accumulate on walkways and stairways making walking hazardous.
- Maintain a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine. It’s never too late to add more fruits, vegetables, and lean protein to your diet. Consider an exercise plan tailored to older adults or begin a walking routine to maintain your strength and prevent the loss of muscle mass.
- Be proactive with your physical and mental health. Maintain regular checkups with your doctor to detect and address any health issues. Try to reduce stress and engage in social activities you enjoy.
- Check out the resources in your community. Many communities offer services such as free transportation to doctor visits, social events, and communal meals.
- Accept help when you need it. It can be hard to give up doing everything on your own. Accepting help to age in place is a sign of wisdom and strength.
If you or your loved one is age 60 or older, you may qualify for Home Care services through the Aging Services Access Point (ASAP) network. Case managers at the 26 ASAPs across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can work with you on developing a care plan to ensure your independence, safety, and quality of life at home.
To learn more, click on the organizations below: