This article was written and submitted by Craig Meadows.
As people get older, they may need assistance with everyday chores like cleaning. Illnesses that come with age may contribute to such so-called functional decline, even making personal tasks like bathing difficult. Taking steps now to make life easier when you are older can help reduce future stress. Lay the groundwork by creating the perfect senior home care environment.
Moving to a Care Community
Depending on the level of care you need, an assisted living or skilled care community may be the best choice. Assisted living typically offers a private room within a broader community specifically for seniors. Staff are on-site for meal preparation, cleaning, and much more. This type of built-in community is important for seniors’ mental health, and most assisted living facilities foster a social network through daily activities. Skilled care, while similar to assisted living, includes many of the same types of amenities, but in a long-term care community, staff are always on hand to help with medical needs around the clock.
You can look to housing advisors like Senior Care to search for communities, as they partner with numerous care providers in the Philadelphia area.
Buying a Senior-Accessible Home
If you are still in the family home where you raised your children, the odds are you no longer need such a large space now that the kids are all grown up. Downsizing to a smaller house means you will have to devote less time, money, and effort for things such as gardening and repairs. When looking for a new space, opt for something senior-accessible; studies have shown that one-story models are ideal as they don’t require you to climb stairs.
Making Modifications to an Existing Home
Another option is to simply prepare for the future by making age-friendly renovations at home. While this allows you to stay in your home, you will need to spend money on renovations; for example, you might want to widen doorways to accommodate walkers or a wheelchair. And you should light your hallways with automatic night lights to make it easier and safer. If you have stairs, an automated stairlift may be a welcome addition to your home down the line.
There are also some affordable changes to make to your kitchen, such as replacing cabinet knobs with pull handles (which are easier to grab) and keeping items you need daily in lower drawers instead of hard-to-reach cupboards up high. For the bathroom, consider installing features such as grab bars next to the toilet, and lowering sinks to accommodate wheelchair access.
A Final Thought on How to Weigh These Options
When considering these choices, look beyond the practical matters. Take the time to consider what it will take for you to make the most of your later years. Are you intent on being close to your grandchildren? Are you determined to keep your pet (which has actually been shown to improve senior health)? Would not having a garden be a deal-breaker?
Make sure that regardless of whatever option you choose from the list above, it meets this “must-have” criteria. Every person should be able to pursue their personal passions, whatever their age. With the wide variety of options available, there’s no doubt you will find a new home that accommodates yours.
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