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6 Essential Tips for Aging in Place

A recent survey by the Canadian Medical Association and the National Institute on Ageing found that 96% of Canadians want to age at home and live independently for as long as possible – and do everything possible to avoid going into long-term care Pandemic Perspectives on Long-Term Care: Insights from Canadians in Light of COVID-19


In this post, I will cover 6 tips that can help you stay in your home as long as possible and avoid long term care.


 

1. Stay Healthy - Keep up with all the good things you are told to do.



two elderly women in a black and white photo. One women giving the other a massage
photo: eberhard on Unsplash

You’ve heard the saying “getting old isn’t for the faint of heart”.  As we age, our bodies naturally decline. There are things you can do to slow down that process. I’m not going to tell you anything new here, you’ve heard it before: stay physically active, stay connected socially, eat healthy, don’t smoke, reduce alcohol use, keep mentally engaged. These actually work. So, if you really want to stay home and avoid a nursing home, then start adjusting your life now. You can learn more about aging well here https://aginginplaceplan.ca/


 


2. Imagine what your health and mobility will be like.



If you plan for what you might need then you are far more likely to be able to manage a crisis if it occurs. 

Imagine two things. Imagine that you need a walker to get around and that you can no longer drive. These are two things that often occur as we get older. Now think about what life would be like then. Assess your home for accessibility and your community for resources that you might need. 


  • What things will you no longer be able to do and need help with?

  • Will you still be able to do housekeeping, yard work, house repairs? 

  • What parts of your home will you need to adapt?

  • Do you have stairs to enter your home, or stairs within the home?

  • Is your bathroom accessible? 

  • Is your present home suitable for “aging in place”?

If it’s not, then moving earlier to something that is can help you to remain in your “new” home as long as possible.


 

3. Take Stock of Your Resources


Consider who you have in your corner when assistance is needed. Is there a spouse, adult children, or friends who could lend a hand with driving, errands, or household tasks? If not, explore available programs like Continuing Care or volunteer services such as VON transportation. Private service providers may also offer support if finances allow. Assess your financial readiness to access these services if necessary, ensuring you're prepared for any eventualities.


If you live in a house, can you afford to pay for home repairs, yard work and snow removal? If you can’t afford to, then it’s better to look at alternate housing before that need arises so you are not in a crisis of not being able to do the work yourself and you can’t afford to pay someone. 


Plan for the possibility of needing assistance to get drives, help with housekeeping or yard work. If those services are available in your area, then learn how to access them. That way you will be prepared for when the need rises, and you are not scrambling. 

Planning can mean all the difference between being able to remain in your home or having to leave in a crisis.




 

4. Plan Ahead


Planning for a decline in health and mobility can help you remain home longer. Sometimes a crisis can happen quickly, like a fall and a fracture, or a cancer diagnosis. When this happens, you don’t have time or energy to figure out what you need at home or how to access the services. 

If you’ve already explored what resources there are in your community, then you can quickly access them and get the support you need.



 


5. Downsizing and Decluttering


It doesn’t get easier the older you get. It’s particularly more difficult during a health crisis like a fall or cancer treatment. Downsizing is about moving to a smaller space and reducing the number of belongings to have more live-able uncluttered space in your home. It can be an overwhelming task. Do it in small increments over time. There are companies that help with both the sorting of items, delivering them to organizations and with the move to another home.




 

6. Accept Help and Invest Wisely


When the time comes that you need help with drives, housekeeping, yard work or snow shoveling, then accept the help. 


It can be difficult for some who are used to being independent and managing on their own. But if you accept help for the things that are difficult for you to manage, then you reduce the risk of injuring yourself doing them yourself. For many of the Baby Boomer generation, who have saved their money for a rainy day or in case they need it someday, it’s hard to spend that money to pay for something they’ve always done themselves. I carry an umbrella in my briefcase and take it out with some Boomers to impress upon them that this is the rainy day. It’s when you need help when you get older.


Now’s the time to spend the money. Getting the care and support you need to remain in your own home and be cared for is exactly what the money was saved for. Also, if you start having help come into your home for small things like housekeeping and then a crisis hits, you are already used to people coming into your home and often the agencies that are providing the care can just increase the hours they come to your home for and add the new tasks that you now need help with.





 


Overall, aging in place means thinking ahead, making smart choices, and being open to change. Use these six tips to help you stay at home comfortably, surrounded by what you love. And always remember, being ready is the secret to a happy and lively future as you grow older.


If you require assistance in navigating these steps or seek professional guidance, Greywave is here to support you. Schedule a complimentary discovery call today to explore how we can help you thrive in the comfort of your own home.



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