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How To Care For Your Older Self

women's pink knit shirtPreparing for your golden years ensures that your life is satisfying and free of unnecessary stress that can be avoided. That’s why it is important to begin preparing for your senior years as early as possible, sometime during middle-age. Inarguably, you need to be able to have a definite plan detailing how to care for your older self. Interestingly, RetirementLiving reports that 90% of Americans over 65 want to stay in their own homes rather than move into a facility or senior community.

Preparing Financially for Your Senior Years

Long-term care planning is essential for being ready for whatever may happen healthwise as you grow older. While Medicare will pay for many of your needs, it is not prudent to rely solely on this limited resource to pay for all of your medical expenses.

Practically speaking, if you need long-term medical care in a long-term nursing facility, Medicare only pays for 20 days of that care. That means you will have to pay for the balance. This reality is why it is recommended that seniors buy supplemental insurance or have substantial savings available that is dedicated to healthcare expenses. A combination of savings, supplemental insurance and Medicare is always a good strategy for ensuring that you are fully covered.

Many older people are turning to home health assistants for help when they need additional support instead of turning to a nursing home that can cost as much as $100,000 annually. While home health assistants offer a more affordable way to manage recovery from a temporary health setback, it is still a substantial outlay that can put a strain on a senior’s budget if they don’t have substantial savings set aside. If you don’t make a careful financial plan for how to care for your older self, you may have to rely on family members for the funds you’ll need, or worse, settle for second or third-rate care options.  

Ensure you have adequate health insurance, here are some resources: List of Medicare Advantage Plans and Medigap Plans 2021.

Smart Home Modifications to Prepare for Your Golden Years

Below are a few of the best home modifications you can make to prepare for your senior years.

  1. Upgrade your floors to non-slip options.

RetirementLiving reports that 25% of adults over the age of 65 fall annually. Considering that the bathroom is one of the places where seniors are most likely to slip and fall, it makes sense to purchase a non-slip bath mat. In fact, using non-slip rugs throughout your home is a good idea.

If your home has slippery floors throughout the house, it might be time to replace them with non-slip flooring upgrades. While a polished, high-shine wood floor can be beautiful, it might be your undoing if you fall and break a bone. There are a variety of choices that can be purchased on a budget for $3 per square foot and less. Ask about non-slip flooring materials and do your research to find something suitable.

  1. Replace a standard toilet with a raised toilet.

Granted, the best and safest height of your toilet is personal depending on your height. Many seniors find that the standard toilet which is 15 inches off the floor is a bit too low to be comfortable. Consider testing a toilet that is slightly higher at 17 to 19 inches. For comparison purposes, 17 to 19 inches is the height of most chairs. When inquiring about a replacement toilet, ask for a comfort-height toilet.

  1. Add more light.

Dimmer switches can be a godsend. This allows you to keep the lights low so that a middle of the night walk to the bathroom is safe. Lights with motion sensors are another alternative if you would rather keep your bedroom completely dark at night while you are sleeping.

Plan for Emergencies

Preparing for an emergency is always a smart idea and becomes even more critical as we get older and our odds increase for a fall, medical emergency or accident. Harvard Health Publishing recommends buying a personal alarm system or having a cell phone on hand at all times so that you can get help when you need it. Many medical alert systems are worn daily so that if you fall, you can simply press a button to alert authorities who can respond immediately.

Get your official paperwork in order. It is critical that you have advance care directives completed in case you are suddenly too ill to manage the details of life on your own. A living will, care directives, and a power of attorney to address health care decisions are the types of documents you should have ready at all times.

Conclusion

Living a long and satisfying life is our goal. Carefully preparing for the challenges of aging is the best way to accomplish this objective.