Thursday, January 29, 2009

Maintaining Independence in Your Golden Years

Most of us have some semblance of a plan in place for retirement. We all know that we should save as much as we can, preferably by investing in our employers' retirement plans so that we'll have a nice nest egg to sustain us later in life. Planning for your later years should be more comprehensive than simply saving your money. You should ask yourself: How will I be able to take care of myself - independently - once my body starts to break down?

It's a grim prospect, but it is one we all must face (if we're lucky enough to live that long). Assuming that you make it to age 70 or 80, what do you think things will be like for you? What kinds of things will you want to do with your time? If you like to travel and have a companion, you may find that these years are when you appreciate traveling the most. For ordinary day-to-day living, however, you'll want to make sure that you can take care of most things by yourself. Things like bathing, moving around the house, preparing meals, and keeping things tidy should be things you can do for yourself. I know it isn't pleasant, but you should realize and plan for what happens as your body reaches old age. You'll probably have arthritis to deal with, which is hard for anyone. Fortunately, there are mobility products and other solutions available that can keep you independent.

If you live long enough, at some point you will probably require long-term care. If you've made it that far, congratulations; you've earned the right to have people waiting on you. On the other hand, most people will prefer to remain independent for as long as possible before that day. In order to do that, you will need to make sure your home is as accident-proof as possible. I have a few pointers for that.

Let's start in the bathroom. If your loved ones are concerned about you falling in the shower, ease their minds by buying a floor mat and installing a grab bar. If your physical condition is such that you should only take baths, then don't risk a shower. You could even buy a bath lift that lowers you into the bath and raises you back up when you're done. Make sure there are grab bars and dry floor mats in other places in the bathroom also, like near the sink.

In other areas of the house, like the living room and bedroom, you may find it prudent to use a walker to get around. Or, if you prefer, there are electric scooters or power wheelchairs designed for indoor use. There are many, many ways for you to make your home life more convenient and safe as you get along in years, which will keep you independent and taking care of yourself.

Randy McIntire is a technical writer specializing in mobility devices for seniors and the disabled. Randy's particular area of expertise is stair lifts. For more information about stair lifts, visit US Medical Supplies.

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1 comment:

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