Aging in Place or Home Hunting: Key Factors to Keep in Mind
Whether you decide to search for a smaller home or to age in place at your current home, safety is a key concern. New technologies and simple changes to standard home features can improve your quality of life throughout your golden years.
The CDC reports that each year, more than 3 million people age 65 and older receive treatment for falls in emergency rooms. There are preventative measures that can make your new or current home safer, including:
Slip-resistant surfaces and removing rugs can help prevent tripping and sliding. If you insist on an area rug, be sure to use non-skid mats underneath the rug.
Single-floor living is best but sometimes there is no getting around a few steps in a new home or your current one. Helpful tips for safer stairs include:
- Installing handrails on both sides of the stairs
- Using stair treads to prevent sliding
- Ensuring the steps are well-lit and easy to see
Mobility is essential to independent living, so stay alert to features that pose a threat for falling. Ask friends and family to help you evaluate any safety hazards in a potential new home or where you presently live — they may spot something you haven’t noticed.
Explore Smart Home Technologies
If you’ve decided to age in place, accessibility modifications go beyond grab bars and ramps. Smart home technologies can help keep you safe and provide your loved ones with peace-of-mind. Voice-enabled devices like the Amazon Echo, the Google Assistant, or the Apple HomePod allow you to use voice commands to operate compatible devices. Simply tell the device to call your friend, to remind you of an appointment, or to control a smart home thermostat, and presto — it’s done!
Other useful smart home technologies include smart light bulbs and video doorbells. Even appliances can help you stay safe, with such important features like a stove shut-off system. By using motion-sensing technology, burners on either gas or electric stoves automatically turn off after a period of no use.
According to a survey conducted by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), 64 percent of seniors said they feel prepared to embrace safety and smart monitoring technology. Sixty-one percent of seniors responded they are willing to adopt active aging technology in order to live more independently. The survey results demonstrate the growing interest in smart home technology for the golden years.
A Sense of Community
Access to activities that keep you engaged with others and active is important as you age. Isolation can lead to depression and other health risks, making socialization vital.
Perhaps your neighborhood provides the right kind and the right amount of activities you need. If you are shopping for a new, smaller home, consider the community and neighborhood in terms of activities, transportation, and crime. Vibrant senior communities are out there; with a little research, you will soon find the one that you love.
In addition to smart home technologies, social media and video services like FaceTime and Skype make staying connected to family a breeze. Go beyond the standard phone call and learn to use these communication tools to chat live with your loved ones. Video chat is more engaging due to the ability to actually see your loved ones. Using FaceTime or Skype is the next best thing to being with them — you can even show them your recent upgrades or give them a video tour of your new place!
Be Open to Assistance
Technology is wonderful, but it can only do so much, especially if everyday tasks have become too taxing. If this happens, don’t underestimate the benefits of assisted living. These communities offer a wealth of amenities, in addition to a guaranteed social outlet. Assisted living also gives residents the chance to maintain independence while receiving the help they need. The Atlanta area boasts a variety of communities, and sites like A Place for Mom, which has partnered with 50 local communities, can connect you with a senior advisor who will be able to guide you through the process to determine the best residential choice.
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to senior living. Each person has different ideas about how they spend their golden years. Advances in technology are changing the way we interact with people and with devices in our own homes. It is an exciting time to consider which features are the best fit for you.