How Do I Age in Place? A Medical Alert System Can Help.

Happy Senior Couple

In the simplest terms, aging in place is the ability to stay in your home as long as possible as you age. To age in place with ease, you must prepare financially and ensure your environment will support you. Planning ahead can make your life much easier down the road. It’s important to tackle issues head-on before they occur. In most cases, this includes asking yourself: how do I age in place? 

We’ve put together a list of tasks you should spend time working on and thinking about. Once you move out of the phase of asking, “how do I age in place,” you should feel confident in each of these categories.

1. Secure your funds for the future

First, assess your bank account. Securing your income for the future will help avoid major headaches you don’t want to deal with down the road. 

How much income will you have in your retirement years, and how long will your savings last? If you will need a caretaker, will you be able to afford it? How do I age in place if I don’t have consistent income? 

The earlier you start saving for retirement, the better. As you get closer to retirement, meet with a financial planner to ensure you will be able to age in place comfortably. 

2. Make sure your home will be accessible and safe

If you are planning on purchasing a new home for retirement, you will want your new place to support you as you age with minimal remodeling.

A home that is best for aging in place will have:

  • A single level, with no entry stairs
  • Little to no steps
  • Thresholds that are level with the floor
  • Wide hallways
  • Ample lighting
  • Extra floor space for easy maneuverability
  • A walk-in shower with a seat
  • Countertops and storage that are easy to reach

Additionally, there are simple modifications you can make to further increase your safety as you age in place:

  • Replace entry stairs with ramps
  • Mount handrails in bathroom
  • Put non-slip surfaces in the bathtubs or shower
  • Install more lighting both outdoors and indoors
  • Replace round doorknobs with lever handles
  • Switch out existing chairs with seats that have armrests and aren’t too cushy or too close to the ground

Ask yourself: How do I age in place if my home is unsafe? Then, take the steps necessary to adjust your living space. 

3. Ensure adequate access to health care resources in your community

How accessible are health care resources in your community? Will you need to get a ride to the doctor or will you able to walk there? Will your pharmacy deliver your medication? How do I age in place if the nearest doctor is an hour’s drive away? 

These are question you must consider when you plan to age in place. Check your local listings and ensure you will have access to the healthcare you may need.  

4. Find alternate transportation options

Community Helping Each Other

In your golden years, driving may not always be an option. Is your neighborhood walkable and close to shopping or public transit? How do I age in place if I can’t drive? Are there senior shuttle services available? 

Your ability to get around without a car only gets more important as you age. You don’t want to feel lonely and isolated without alternate transportation options. 

5. Equip your house with aging in place technology

Recent technology has made aging in place easier than ever before. Investing in smart technology can sometimes be costly, but it will pay off in the long run if it helps you remain in your home. Aging in place technology you should consider includes:

  •  A medical alert system

A medical alert system acts as a safety net to help you age in place. At the push of a button, an operator will contact you and send help your way. Added fall detection can send help your way without even needing to press the button. For seniors who want protection in and out of the house, a mobile medical alert can protect you anywhere you go.

  • Automatic medication dispenser

With an automatic medication dispenser, you never have to worry about missing a dose again. This device releases the pills at the time you need them so you will never take the wrong medication at the wrong time.

  • Enhanced telephone

Enhanced telephones have larger buttons and clearer sounds to ease communication for seniors. You may even add pictures of loved ones on speed dial to make calling that much easier. Staying connected to loved ones is easier than ever before.

  • A bath lift

A bath lift eases the trouble of getting in and out of an old tub. It has a seat that is controlled by a handheld remote so all you need to do it sit down and let the bath lift lower you down. There is a reclining option so you can enjoy a bath as you always have. 

6. Keep your mind and body healthy

How do I age in place if my health is compromised? Effectively aging in place is about both creating a safe environment and relying on you taking care of yourself. A healthy diet, staying hydrated, and exercising are key ways to staying healthy as long as possible. It is important to get regular medical checkups to prevent problems before they start.

How do I age in place? Here’s a quick recap:

  1. Secure your funds for the future.
  2. Make sure your home will be accessible and safe.
  3. Ensure adequate access to health care resources in your community. 
  4. Determine what your transportation options will be.
  5. Equip your house with technology to help you age in place easily.
  6. Keep your mind and body healthy.