Health and Life: Resources for Seniors Living at Home
Often, seniors will choose to remain in the familiarity and comfort of their own home as they age. With the right support and resources, many seniors can delay, or even avoid, moving in with family members or into assisted living facilities.
People in the United States are living long and healthy lives. To maintain that health, we require a healthy diet, exercise, and regular medical care. Even with all of those, we still cannot prevent aging, and thus is it important to tailor requirements to the needs and limitations of an individual as they age. It is also important to learn to recognize when a symptom is a normal sign of aging versus when it is something that may require medical intervention.
- Medline Plus: Seniors’ health
- Aging in Place: Resources for living your fullest life
- National Institute of Aging: Exercise and physical activity
As we age, recovering from an injury can become a longer and more difficult process. This is why making the home a safe place for aging seniors is so vitally imperative. Keeping a home secure from intruders is important for safety, but so is reducing the risk of falling and injuries while inside, on the walkway, in the driveway, or in the yard. Make your home a safe place to safely enjoy the retirement years.
Here are some things to check for when seeing if your home is ready:
- Make sure that there is no furniture blocking your path when you walk through the home.
- Ensure that rugs cannot slip and that they do not have loose edges that can be tripped over.
- Keep items, such as towels, papers, and books, off the floor.
- Make sure that there are no electrical cords where they can be tripped over.
- Fix any loose or uneven steps or thresholds.
- Test all lights to make sure they are working and providing adequate light, especially near stairs or in hallways.
- Check handrails to make sure they are secure.
- Consider adding a shower chair to the bathroom.
- Add railings in the bathroom.
- Remove items from high shelves where they cannot be reached easily.
- Add a nightlight in the bedroom.
- Add non-stick strips or a mat to a slippery tub or shower floor.
- Health in Aging: Home safety tips for older adults
- AARP: Make your home safe for your aging parent
- National Council on Aging: Check for safety: A home fall prevention checklist for older adults
Some seniors may continue to drive well into their later years. However, as we age, our eyesight, response time, and other important aspects needed for driving may decrease. There may be a time when driving yourself is no longer an option. Thankfully, there are other ways for seniors to get around and still lead active lives.
Consider elderly transportation services that are available in many communities. Depending on the service, they may have a fixed route or be able to offer door-to-door service. Ridesharing, taxis, buses, or other public transport may also be an option if you live an area with regular transportation services.
- California Department of Motor Vehicles: Your driver license
- National Public Radio: When should seniors hang up the car keys?
- National Association of Area Agencies on Aging: Choices for mobility independence: Transportation options for older adults
Financial planning is a big part of saving for retirement and making sure that the money lasts. However, sometimes we still need more resources to make the retirement years more comfortable. That is where local, state, and federal resources for the elderly can become important. There are many services and benefits available to senior citizens as well as their caregivers. The following resources may help you to get an idea of what may be available to you:
- State of Maine: Senior citizen resources
- Library of Congress: Resources for senior citizens and their families
- Eldercare Locator: Your 1st step to finding resources for older adults
The internet is a great source of information and resources to make life easier, but it is not without risk. Here are some ways to stay safe online:
- Avoid giving your personal information for prizes or contests.
- Do not respond to emails with personal information.
- Check to make sure you are at the right website before putting in your username or password.
- If a friend or family member asks for money, make sure it is really them. Someone may have hacked or replicated their social media account or email address. The same is true if it is a business or government office. You can always call the actual telephone number of the business to confirm it was them who was contacting you.
- Keep your social media accounts set to “friends only” so that strangers cannot see your information or activity.
- Ohio State University: Cyber tips for older Americans
- Nova Southeastern University: Senior citizens and cyber security awareness
- University of Washington: Online safety tips: Protecting your personal information
The first step to being prepared is knowing what to be prepared for! Learn about the natural disaster risks for your area. After that, you can start preparing. Here are some ways to get started:
- Learn how to turn off your gas and electricity.
- Get to know your neighbors.
- Pack a personal evacuation bag that includes medications, important documents, toiletries, and clothing.
- Make a personal plan to ensure your needs are met even if you need to relocate.
- Centers for Disease Control: Personal preparedness for older adults and their caregivers
- Ready.gov: Seniors
- Texas A&M University: Just in case: Emergency readiness for older adults and caregivers
The US Department of State offers links to resources for a variety of challenges that we face as we age.
Habitat for Humanity has a short list of resources that seniors may find helpful when choosing to age in place.
The US Department of Health and Human Services has a great way to search for resources according to the state you live in. They cover all 50 states with their helpful list of information.