“You’re not going anywhere.” That’s what you can tell friends and family who insist that you check into a nursing home or assisted living facility as you advance into your golden years. Aging in place is the new trend as more and more seniors like you choose to stay in the home they love rather than spending their lives elsewhere.
It takes more than just stubbornness to make this plan work, however. You need a dwelling that meets your needs as well as a healthy lifestyle. Otherwise, your nay-saying loved ones would be right. If you want to know how to go about this, keep reading this article to survive and thrive for years to come, right where you are.
Carry Out a Decluttering
Almost everyone has too much stuff in their home, and the same probably goes for you. However, all of those old clothes, books, and bric-a-brac create a mess and even pose a health threat — something could fall off the cabinet onto your head or trip you up when left on the floor. So, get rid of whatever you don’t really need or want.
Reduce the Risk of Falling
Speaking of tripping, it’s one of the greatest causes of injury in the home, proving particularly hazardous for seniors. However, that’s not just due to stuff lying on the floor; it’s also due to moisture on the tiles in the kitchen and bathroom, among other places. You can fix this potential problem with anti-slip flooring, which provides greater grip for your feet.
That slip-free flooring makes getting around easier, as does widening doorways. The latter doesn’t actually require any major remodeling if you can find expandable hinges at the hardware store. What does require some serious work would be a wheelchair ramp at your entrance-way. This project likely calls for a contractor, though hiring the right one can be tricky. Before you even begin interviewing any, develop a plan for the ramp. When you do start talking to candidates, ask questions about their experience and get some references. If you need any guidance in this process, you’ll find it online.
Get Ready to Entertain
Safety improved, it’s time to think about the more pleasurable things, such as good company. Your friends and family will be visiting often in the future, so put some effort into your living room, where you can sit and have a few beers while chatting away. Here’s an area where you can let your good taste shine.
Create an Outdoor Space
As lovely as your living room is, you’ll want some sunshine and fresh air, and that’s waiting for you just out in the yard. A well-designed landscape is a worthwhile investment, and Groovy Green has some ideas that are environmentally friendly as well as easy to maintain. Don’t forget to include a place to sit in the shade.
Develop a Meal Plan
All that sunshine and fresh air won’t keep you healthy if you don’t eat right. That’s easier to do if you plan out breakfast, lunch, and dinner in advance, rather than scrambling for ingredients at the last minute and missing out on something nutritious. You don’t have to strain your brain too much, though, as shopping lists and menus for seniors are readily available from the National Institute on Aging.
Stay Physically Active
Nutritious food means energy to burn while exercising, and that’s another important element of healthy living. A mix of endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility training not only keeps you trim but also enhances mobility and prevents injury. Choose activities you enjoy, bearing in mind that there are literally dozens of ways to break a sweat, if not more.
A healthy diet and exercise help you get your 40 winks, but only if you’re not stressed out when you rest your head on the pillow. Do something relaxing in the evening such as taking a bath, listening to music, or reading a book.
While you’re making these changes to your home and lifestyle, don’t forget to have fun. There’s no reason you shouldn’t; after all, you’ve worked hard for decades to enjoy retirement.
June is the co-creator of Rise Up for Caregivers, which offers support for family members and friends who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their loved ones. She is author of the upcoming book, The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers.
Image via Pexels.