Independent living is important for everyone because it holds many benefits: boosting self-esteem and confidence, helping mental and physical health, as well as improving quality of life and sense of purpose. For older generations and those facing a disability or reduction in mobility where it might become more difficult to do everyday tasks, the loss of independence might be the biggest emotional hurdle to deal with. There are many things that can be put in place, however, that can enable you to maintain independence.
Here at Stiltz Home Elevators, we look at three key areas to consider and changes to make, to ensure that you can enjoy living as independently as possible in 2022, and beyond.
- Budget for services
The place to start when thinking about independent living is to carry out a simple review of your needs, and think about how to practically meet them. In order to successfully live independently there are a range of key areas which need to be covered including: nutrition and cooking, washing and dressing, health care, home upkeep and safety, and financial management. If you struggle to meet your own needs in any of these areas there are many commercial services available to cover these essentials, so think about which areas are currently required and review the budget available. Also consider alternative options with different levels of cost. For example, do you need cooked food to be delivered daily, or are you happy heating a precooked meal from the freezer?
When choosing services ask for recommendations and compare costs from different providers. If the services involve people coming to your home, meet with the professionals who will be working with you and make sure you are happy with what they are offering.
Your needs may well change over time, so be sure to carry out regular reviews of your own requirements, the services you are using and the costs incurred.
- Make your home fit for your needs
One of the top reasons that seniors move home, either into care or single storey accommodation, is because their family home is no longer suitable or safe for them and their mobility needs. In order to live independently at home for longer, there are many simple and affordable changes which can be made to any home, to make it safe and accessible for seniors and those with disabilities.
The stairs are often the biggest issue for home owners with mobility difficulties. Whether the stairs are plain hard work – or impossible – often they are unsafe for those who are unsteady on their feet for multiple reasons. Fear of a fall on the stairs often prevents older people from venturing upstairs at all, and they might reconfigure the home to allow themselves to live entirely downstairs.
Thanks to huge advances in technology, there is now a practical and affordable solution to this issue: the home lift. Designed to be compact enough to fit into almost any space in the home, yet with some models roomy enough to take a wheelchair, Stiltz home elevators offer a huge help to those with mobility difficulties who wish to continue to live independently in their own homes.
Other areas of the home which should be considered for adaptations are making bathrooms and kitchens safe and accessible, using security systems and doorbell cameras to make it easier and safer to accept callers, buying supportive furniture such as electric riser beds and rise-and-recline sofas, and using smart speakers to control lighting, music, TV and even curtains and blinds.
- Keep your social circle
Living independently doesn’t mean being alone. Far from it – a social network is vital for those living independently; offering structure to the day, providing mental stimulation and purpose, and helping with good mental health. In fact, a benefit of living independently for longer should mean that you can remain in established social circles rather than uprooting from your neighbourhood.
For peace of mind have the numbers of trusted neighbours and local friends to hand in case of a problem or emergency. Make sure your local network also has the contact details of family and friends who live further afield, should they need them.
It is shown that having a structure to your day, week or month is good for mental health, and so try to establish social routines, visitors who come on regular days for instance, or a club which you attend once a week, or even a phone call at the same time each day. Social activities can be beneficial in more ways than one, and by incorporating a fitness class or a regular walk into your social calendar you can ensure that you exercise both body and mind at the same time.