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At Home for the Duration

According to the National Aging in Place Council, at least nine out of 10 older adults would prefer to age in place rather than move to senior housing. However, while the prospect of living out life at home is overwhelmingly appealing, it’s not without challenges.

One of the benefits of moving to a senior community is that people interact more on a daily basis. This is a particular concern to adult children who worry about their elderly parents living alone or relying on only each other. That’s why, if you live at home, it’s important to keep up social engagements with the outside world. Keep doing what you’ve always done, even when it’s harder, and start back even after you’ve been laid up for a while. Take daily walks, and keep going out to dinner, movies and plays at least once a week; these activities needn’t be curbed by old age. Visit friends, and invite them over for visits. This isn’t just important for aging-at-home seniors — it’s important for their loved ones’ peace of mind.

Hearing loss is one common obstacle that can deter social interaction as we age. Ignoring hearing issues can inadvertently promote isolation because people may get frustrated and stop visiting or calling someone who has to repeat information several times.

Addressing mobility issues head on is another component to living at home. Some aging adults think that if they start using a cane or walker, they’ll become dependent on it. The fact is, these tools can help prevent falls, not just recover from them. As we age, we start to move slower due to balance issues (often caused by hearing/inner ear issues); moving at a snail’s pace is a way to keep from falling. However, moving slowly also impedes the ability to get exercise. Using a cane or walker can help mature adults move faster with more confidence, so life — and health — doesn’t have to take a step back.

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