If you haven’t thought about your New Year’s resolutions yet, start now. Think about things you meant to do last year. The things you knew would make your home or your loved one’s home safe. The things you knew would improve yours or your loved ones life. The things you wanted to try. And, in particular, the simple and easy things you knew could make a big difference.
Everyone is busy, but now is a great time to make an aging in place plan for yourself or a loved one that can enrich lives, extend independence and keep everyone safer, healthier and more comfortable. Here are some simple things to promise yourself – and actually do – in the new year.
Install grab bars
Last year you saw these great grab bars but never got around to buying or installing them. This is a simple addition to a bathroom that can help a senior remain independent for much longer. Grab bars in the shower and for assistance getting in and out of the shower will help a senior maintain dignity while being able to get in and out of the shower/tub by himself. Grab bars are easy to install and come in many designs and colors to suit most bathrooms.
Check heating and cooling
It’s been a while since the heating/cooling unit was maintained. You meant to have it checked in time for winter, but you started holiday shopping and completely forgot. Plan on having the heating/cooling unit maintained and inspected for leaks or other wear and tear. Replace the unit if necessary. Regular maintenance of this appliance will help extend its life.
Review your finances
Your finances may have changed since you retired (or your retirement plans have changed since the economy changed) and you feel things are tighter than you planned. It’s been easy to put off evaluating your finances, but the time has come. This year, make sure you do a full review of your finances from income to planned expenses to unexpected expenses. If you can, speak with a financial planner whom will be able to evaluate and help you plan for your future needs.
Put down the laptop and take a look around the house. Throw out the throw rugs (or secure them), clean up the power cords and rearrange the furniture to make clear paths for walking. Falls in the home cause a majority of senior injuries and some simple cleaning up can reduce the chances of falling. Other hazards that require attention that you may have been putting off include fixing the loose carpeting, covering slippery surfaces, eliminating clutter on stairs and throughout the home and making sure areas are well-lit.
Call an attorney
It’s weighed on your mind for years, but you still have no official plan in terms of wills, power of attorney, etc. Procrastinating planning your end of life needs (or helping a loved one to plan) is easy since it is a lot of scary talk, but most of us have it floating around in the back of our minds – a worry we just won’t address. Call a lawyer today who can assist you with financial planning, care arrangements, wills and powers of attorneys and take the first step toward your peace of mind.
Get a senior cell phone
A phone that is easy to use, ready in an emergency and affordable? Yes, there are many cell phone models that are designed specifically with seniors in mind. If you didn’t purchase a senior cell phone as a Christmas gift, consider purchasing one for a birthday, mother’s/father’s day or just because. See our list of senior cell phones.
Visit the senior community center
You have wanted to see what is available at the local senior center but haven’t made the trip over to check it out. Pick a day to visit next week and see for yourself. Senior centers offer a safe environment where seniors can participate in physical and intellectual activities. Centers usually have transportation, meals and some have assistance with medication and other needs. The best part about a senior center is the socialization, which can extend and improve quality of life.
Talk to your family
Make a point to speak with your family. It is important that the whole family knows of your plans and wishes. They need to know what they are. You need to ask who is willing to help and everyone can help form a family plan. Communication is key to ensuring your retirement and aging in place needs are met.