Looking to stay healthy and independent as you age? Of course you are! Consider small updates that can make a big difference in your everyday life, now and in the future.
A recent Leger survey commissioned by the National Institute on Ageing (NIA) and TELUS Health found that an overwhelming 90 per cent of Canadians intend to do everything they can to stay active, and maintain their optimal health and independence as they age. For most, this means planning to ‘age in place’ – having the health and social support as well as necessary services to continue living life on their own terms, in their own homes or communities.
When it comes to independent aging, preparation is key. In the same survey, eight in ten (83 per cent) Canadians said they were open to receiving advice on how to live safely on their own. Here are a few ways to ensure you live your life the way you want to, for as long as possible:
1. Update your home
A few simple household updates could help avoid risks and prevent injury. Ramps and handrails at entrances, as well as grab bars in bathrooms can provide additional support in areas that can become extra slippery, helping to prevent falls and other accidents. Depending on your situation, consider changes such as widening doorways to accommodate a walker or wheelchair, or using a chairlift to support mobility going up and down stairs.
2. Get around with ease
Going to appointments, running errands, and attending social activities are integral to maintaining independence. Since driving alone may not be an option for everyone due to certain medical conditions, it’s important to think about other means of transportation available in your community. Consider solutions such as public transit, taxis and other transportation services available in your community, or even ask family and friends for a ride.
3. Get ‘smart’
A number of gadgets can also make life easier around your home and when you’re on the go. In fact, the same survey from the NIA and TELUS Health showed that 85 per cent of Canadians agreed that wearable technology - a small device that you wear around your wrist, neck or on a belt clip - could help seniors live safe and independently in their own homes, for longer. The older Canadians get, the more likely they are to agree with that statement. Personal emergency response systems (PERS) like LivingWell Companion from TELUS Health give seniors and their loved ones peace of mind knowing emergency support can be accessed 24/7 through their wearable device at the push of a button, or through a fall detection feature.
Smart lights, that are voice or motion-activated are also a good idea as they light up a space automatically when you enter, reducing the risk of tripping over something. Smart doorbells (with video streaming capabilities) and lock systems support safety and help monitor happenings in and around the home.
It’s never too early to get ready. With the right tools and strategies, you can maintain a safe, comfortable and independent lifestyle for many years to come.