You don’t want to give up your independence, do you?
That’s totally understandable. Going to live in a nursing home, or even an assisted living facility, is a sort of defeat. After all, you’ve been independent your whole life. To give that up is to basically call it quits on life. Here’s how to stay in your own home until the day you die.
According to an AARP study, about 90% of people over 65 want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. Clearly, there’s a demand for Independent Living. But, most people aren’t strong enough to do that. They don’t have a solid plan and so they end up moving into an assisted living facility.
Here’s the thing: if you fall in your old age, one of the biggest risks is that you will break your hip and potentially die as a result.
Older individuals suffer from a lack of general strength and balance, and this eventually becomes a liability too great to ignore. How do you overcome this? You workout. Literally. You hire a professional trainer and insist on doing barbell or weight training that reinforces balance and muscular control.
The most common, and simplest, program for that is one invented by powerlifting coach Mark Rippetoe, called “Starting Strength.” It’s a beginner’s strength-training program that helps individuals build up muscle and improve balance through basic weightlifting exercises. The program has helped all ages from teenagers to individuals well into their 70s and 80s.
It won’t guarantee that you won’t ever need help, but it will tilt the odds in your favor and, as Rippetoe says, “Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general.”
Consult your doctor before you embark on a weightlifting program. But, as long as you don’t have any serious physical disabilities, you should be good to go.
How To Make Your Home Safer
You can’t live in an unsafe house. It’s a danger when you’re young, but even more so when you get older. For example, furniture that obstructs pathways or stairs is inherently dangerous. Walk around your home and try to find and write down any hazards you find.
Have a family member help you if you’re unsure of yourself.
If there is a part of the house that you can’t navigate easily, or that you feel unsafe in, consider having that part of the house modified. For example, if your front porch gets icy in the wintertime, and you’re finding it more and more difficult to clean off or navigate, you may want to have the porch modified or a roof put over it so that you don’t slip and fall.
If you spend most of your time in your den, you may want to add certain amenities to it, or make it easier to get from your den to your bedroom, bathroom, and the kitchen.
Install safety railings, a ramp if you have trouble getting up and down the stairs, and a chair lift if you need to go upstairs to get to your bedroom.
How Do You Get From “A” To “B”?
For most people, their vehicle is their “lifeline” and independence. If you’re finding it more difficult to drive, or you just don’t trust yourself like you once did behind the wheel, it may be time to transition to ride sharing or some other service that will help you get around more easily.
For example, today, mobile applications like Uber and Lyft exist that are basically private taxi services. You can book a ride any time you want, and someone else will drive you around wherever you need to go. No more worrying about car maintenance. No more insurance or property taxes on your vehicle. No more inspections, registrations, getting ripped off by mechanics, and best of all, no more maintenance and cleaning!
While you might not want to give up your vehicle, it might actually make your life easier, and you won’t have to sacrifice mobility for it.
When ridesharing isn’t an option, you can always ask friends and neighbors for a lift, or you can use public transportation.
Build Your Support Network
For times when you do need some assistance, it always helps to have a support network. Friends, family, and neighbors can all serve that purpose. Think about how supportive your community is. If you live out in the country, away from others, it might actually make your life easier to move into town or into a city where it’s more populated.