You’re only as old as you feel, so they say. And yet, many senior citizens find themselves facing pressure from well-meaning (and sometimes not so well-meaning) individuals intent on seeing them placed into supervised care.
Obviously for some this is a sensible precaution, but if you still feel that you’re of reasonably sound mind and body, it’s only natural to prefer to keep living in your own home. There is nothing wrong with wanting to live independently if you’re still physically able to take care of yourself.
For one thing, it’s less expensive, but far more importantly, it allows you to retain total freedom over every aspect of your life. This, of course, is impossible if someone else is managing your care, because then you have to make allowances and compromises.
It must be acknowledged, however, that getting older does usually inflict a toll upon the body. We can tend to find some things less easy than they were before, or we may experience things like joint pain or other similar ailments.
Fortunately there are many things that can be done to improve safety and mobility in the home, so we can avoid having to move out. When we take appropriate precautions and demonstrate a pro-active approach to taking good care of ourselves, others will worry less and of course we’ll also feel safer and more confident too.
- The entry to the home
If there are steps leading from the ground to your front door, you may want to consider having a handrail installed to help make it a little easier to balance when going up or down. You can also have non-slip traction points added to the surface of steps to make them less slippery.
If you have difficulty hearing the door bell, you can get one installed that has a different tone, is louder, or even flashes lights to let you know when someone is at the door.
While it can be a little pricey, getting a video-intercom system installed will help you identify who is at your door, so you can decide if you want to open the door to them.
- Traversable areas
Make sure corridors have sufficient lighting, and that the surface of them is not slippery. To make it easier to get between floors in a multi-storey residence, you can get a curved stairlift installed, which is actually a lot less complicated than you may expect.
Replacing door knobs with lever-style door openers is a good idea if you have arthritis in your hands, or if you find it difficult to grip smooth surfaces.
- The bathroom
For seniors, the bathroom is one of the more likely places in the home for an accident to happen. If floor tiles are too slippery, consider replacing them. Investing in a high quality bath mat is also a good idea, but make sure it has a good non-slip underside.
Hand rails can be very helpful, and have even saved lives in some situations. These assist with mobility, and they’re inexpensive enough to be worth installing even if you think you’ll never need to use them.
- The kitchen
Another potentially hazardous area is the kitchen. Again, making sure the floor is not too slippery and installing hand rails can be a good idea. You can also think about the handles used to open drawers.
Use your oven timer to help avoid forgetting about things you’ve got cooking, even if they’re not in the oven. Plus of course a fire blanket and fire extinguisher are essential items for any kitchen.
Continuing to live at home is really just a matter of being sensible
Living independently means being responsible for your own care, and as long as you actually are responsible, you shouldn’t have much to worry about.
If you’re seriously committed to living independently, don’t allow anyone to intimidate you into going against your wishes unless their concerns are actually valid. Even then, seek appropriate professional advice about what’s really best for you, and don’t just meekly accept defeat.
When you’re able to take care of yourself adequately, it’s your right to do so, and that’s something you should never compromise on.