Remodeling your house or moving into a retirement community would be the ideal solution, but it is not for everyone. You should be able to stay in your own home, without compromising your health and well-being, and be able to do it without spending money that you don’t have. However, you do need to be aware that your house could be sabotaging your bid for independent living. Don’t delay. If you don’t know where to start, ask for help. An evaluation by a professional will be money well spent, and may even be covered by your health insurance. An occupational therapist can make practical and economical recommendations that will make your home a better place to live. The idea of safety proofing your home or buying anything that sounds high tech can be daunting, but small changes can make a big difference.
Family members and friends often ask what they can get for you or what they can do to help you. Next time, tell them what you would really like. Instead of mumbling into your hand that you are fine and that you don’t need or want anything, give them a list. Believe me, your children and your friends will be pleased to know that they can do something useful. Really, they hate buying bathrobes and dusting powers as much as you hate getting them. Let them know how much you would appreciate a subscription to a taxi service, safety strips for your bathtub, an alarm pendant, or a dozen other items that you need but never get around to buying for yourself. Do you still need some ideas?
- Get rid of wobbly television tray tables or end tables in your living room. I have seen far too many older people use furniture to support themselves on as they move around their apartments. This is never a good idea.
- Replace easy chairs that are hard to get into and out of. You need solid arms supports and firm cushions. When you were younger it was all well and good to sink into a bean bag chair, but nowadays you could be stuck there for days.
- Replacing a slippery round doorknob with a lever will make it easier for you to open doors (there are also door knob lever adaptors that will fit right over your existing doorknob). Lever faucet handles for sink and bath are easier to manipulate if your hand strength is less than it should be.
- An occupational therapist will introduce you to tools such as the”reacher” (a long pole with a grabber at the end) to help your reach for items high or low. Dozens of products such as the Good Grip Jar Opener by OXO are available to help you out in the kitchen. You wouldn’t think something so simple could mean so much. Inexpensive bottle openers, pill dispensary units, specialty toothbrush and floss holders. If you have a need you can find just the right gizmo or gadget to fill your needs.
Where there is a will there is a way. Look for answers and accept help. Independent Living could be right at your fingertips.