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Plan Now to Preserve Your Independence

There’s no time like now to celebrate the independence you enjoy and to plan ahead to maintain it. There’s no time like now to celebrate the independence you enjoy and to plan ahead to maintain it.

We all think of February as the month to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but what you might not know is that February is also National Senior Independence Month.

 

Legendary actress Bette Davis once said, “Getting older is not for sissies.” As people age, changes in mobility, the senses, or cognitive ability can impact their ability to live independently. Things like being able to care for yourself, cook for yourself, maintain your home, pay your bills, and avoid scam artists can all be impacted by age-related changes.


Losing independence can be devastating. Older adults may feel like they are giving up part of their identity. When they are unable to do things the way they used to or make decisions on their own, they can become depressed or angry. Needing help with routine activities, like driving, cleaning the house, doing laundry, and bathing can make a person feel like a burden to their family. Even if they need assistance, some older adults may be reluctant to ask for it or accept help when it’s offered because they don’t want to be perceived as a burden.


Here are a few tips to help you set the stage for maximum independence as you (and loved ones) grow older.


Get Rid of Clutter

Getting organized is more than just good for the soul. It can eliminate slip, trip, and fall hazards that can lead to independence-reducing accidents.


Make Your Home Age Friendly

Check banisters on stairs and railings on decks to make sure they are secure. Install motion-sensing lights in hallways and closets to prevent falls. Install grab bars in the bathroom before they are needed. Imagine yourself needing a walker or wheelchair. Would you be able to get into your home? Navigate safely through it? If not, consider renovations to make your home age friendly.


Use Technology

Though it takes time to master new gadgets, technology (especially mobile phones) can be a lifesaver. They can store contacts, navigate, and even serve as a flashlight. Home security systems can protect against theft and property damage. Motion sensing lights can detect intruders and discourage unwanted guests, while providing light when you need it. Monitoring apps can help you or family members keep tabs on loved ones who need support.


Maintaining Independence Requires Balance

Knowing what to hold onto and what to let go of is a tough road to navigate, especially if you have lived independently for many years. Giving up a driver’s license or accepting in-home help is a big step, and moving from a house to a retirement community can be even more challenging. Asking for and accepting help when it is needed is a positive step toward staying independent.


There’s no time like now to celebrate the independence you enjoy and to plan ahead to maintain it. Do you have questions about how to maximize your own (or a loved one’s) independence during the aging process? Takacs McGinnis can help you answer those questions. As an elder care law firm, everything we do is designed to maximize the dignity and independence of our clients. In fact, when we start working with older adults early in their long-term care journey, we are often able to help them remain at home instead of going to a nursing home or assisted living facility.


If you or someone you know would benefit from this kind of support, call our office at 615.824.2571 to schedule a consultation.

 

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