How to successfully age in place

Today, a growing number of older adults are choosing to age in the comfort of their own homes, rather than move into a nursing facility or assisted living community. Despite changes in mobility normally associated with aging and some chronic conditions, seniors are finding ways to remain as independent and self-reliant as possible.

If you wish to age in place, and do it successfully and safely, you’ll need to carefully plan to ensure you can meet all your daily and personal care needs.With this in mind, here are a few pointers to help you age independently at home – securely and happily.

Avoid isolation

* Make every effort to stay involved with family and friends.

* Participate in celebrations and social gatherings.

*When at all possible, try not to eat alone. Share mealtime with others.

* Encourage family and friends to stop by for casual visits.

* Locate and join a senior center within your community.

Make necessary home adaptations

* Modify your living space to ensure accessibility if you use a power wheelchair or other mobility device. This may include widening doorways, putting in wheelchair ramps, installing a stair lift, removing carpets and clearing obstructed pathways.

* Consult with a certified aging in place specialist (CAPS) for advice on making your home senior-friendly and adaptable to your specific mobility challenges.

* Put up bed rails, grab bars and hand rails for safer in-home mobility.

* Invest in a personal emergency alert and a home security system.

Get help around the house

* If you need help with housecleaning or meal preparation, consult local senior agencies for information on affordable household help or in-home care aides.

* Investigate home delivery options for groceries and prescription medications.

* If you need help with yard work or errands, think about hiring someone in the neighborhood to do the work for a low fee.

Obtain mobility assistance

* Mobility assistance may come in the form of volunteers who can help with shopping or provide transportation to and from doctor appointments. Contact local agencies and services for the aging to obtain information on resources that may be available to you at little or no cost.

* If difficulty walking and/or standing causes you to require assistance with most activities of daily living at home, and a walker, cane or manual wheelchair cannot improve your mobility, consider a power wheelchair. If you are interested in obtaining a power chair, you will need to consult with a licensed physician or medical practitioner for a doctor’s prescription. If you qualify, Medicare may cover most of the cost, but you will have to check with your insurer to be sure.