A recent study commissioned by our supporter Apia found that almost all (97%) Australians over 50 feel it is important to be able to age at home for as long as possible, citing reasons such as comfort (86%), familiarity (68%) and liking their neighbourhood (57%).
These figures demonstrate that older people have an overwhelming desire to maintain their independence by ‘ageing in place’. The benefits of this are numerous and well documented. But ensuring this desire becomes a workable reality is going to take something very important. A plan.
It’s never too early to start looking ahead, exploring options and talking to your friends and family about what ageing well means to you. If your dream is to remain in your own home, here are some things you, and your support network, should consider so you can stay safe, independent and happy.
How safe is your home?
A simple home safety check can identify potential hazards that might cause injuries or falls. Ask your friends or family to walk through your house with you and assess anything that might need modifying. Occupational Therapists have expertise in this area and can assist with an assessment of your needs and the home. This might include:
- Installing additional lighting on outside pathways
- Rearranging furniture so you have ample room to walk freely
- Removing rugs or small items that might cause you to trip
- Installing hand- or grab-rails in bathrooms and stairways
Most of these modifications are inexpensive but will give you and your family much-needed peace of mind. Occupational Therapy Australia provides a searchable list of Occupational Therapists on their website.
What are your transport options?
When planning to stay in our own homes, mobility is a huge consideration. In our last blog, we explored the issue of adjusting to life without a driver’s licence. Even if you feel this stage of life is a long way off, it’s still important to think ahead about what other transport options exist in your area.
- Consider what appointments, errands and activities are essential to your quality of life
- If you aren’t able to drive yourself to these destinations in the future, think about the next best option
- This might include public transport, a shuttle service, car pooling, a driving roster with family and friends, or setting up online deliveries
How can you remain social, connected and happy?
One of the biggest benefits of staying in your own home is remaining connected to the social circle and community you love. But as we age, changes to health and mobility can affect our ability to maintain these connections. It’s very easy to give up social events, but this can quickly lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Ask yourself:
- What do I really love doing now that I’d miss if I gave up?
- Who are my five or six good friends that make my life richer?
- What have I always wanted to do that I’ve never had the time for?
- How could technology make it easier for me to connect with the people who help and support me?
Once you’ve answered these questions, enlist the help of your network to support you to maintain existing interests and connections, and even better, make new ones.
Five Good Friends can help as you consider your ageing in place options. We can arrange for an assessment of your home and needs, a regular Helper to drive you to appointments or social engagements, or a Companion who shares your interests to keep you company. Whatever you need to age well in your own home, we’re here to help.
When you are ready, speak to one of our Care Advisors on 1300 787 581.