Are you planning to live alone after retirement? The answer is probably no, but if it turns out that you are on your own, being able to remain independent as long as possible is a goal that all seniors have. Living alone can be quite lonely, so living near family and friends or in a neighborhood where you can meet new friends can prevent loneliness and isolation. Things to also consider are safety and health. Being happy and having a great quality of life is the ultimate goal. Today, about 29% of seniors live alone and often deal with feelings of loneliness. There are pros and cons to living on your own but also certain health dangers to be aware of. We are going to provide you with some tips to living happily alone as a senior.
1. Remaining in good health
Although most take this for granted, remaining in good health, especially as we age, can prevent common medical conditions from arising. As older adults, we are more prone to falling, which can be life-threatening when there is no one around to help. Doing things simple things like exercising, eating healthy, and drinking lots of water are things that will help with strength, balance and coordination as well as promoting bone health which can all help prevent slips and falls. Staying healthy will also improve your mental health which can help you fend off those moments of feeling lonely.
2. Remove tripping hazards
Slipping and falling are among the top hazards that seniors will encounter when living alone. Keeping your house trip and slip-proof is a simple way to avoid injury such as ensuring that all hallways and open spaces are clear of small objects or taping down area rugs. Preventing slip hazards can be facilitated by having slip-proof mats for doors and entry ways and installing grab bars in the tub or shower. To best avoid not having too much furniture and knick-knacks consider a storage unit for sentimental items so you can clear up floor space.
3. Keep Medication on Hand
As we get older, many seniors require having to take different medications. When living alone, keeping a list of all medications and those you have allergies to is very important. It is also wise to have extra medication on hand, so you don’t run out. Mail ordering your prescription for 90 days, with auto renew is a good way to prevent running out, especially if you are unable to make it to the pharmacy. Wearing a medical bracelet is recommended so in case of an emergency and you are unable to respond, medical professionals are aware of your medication and known allergies.
4. Secure all doors and windows
For a senior who lives alone, the risk of being targeted for theft and burglary is high. There are many different ways you can improve security in and around your home, both in terms of new technologies and good old fashion common sense. Be sure to lock your doors and windows before you go to bed or leave the house. Adding a security system and a peephole in your front door, if you do not already have one, will assist in extra protection and deter intruders. Installing motion-activated lights around your home is another recommendation, since most house crimes occur at night.
5. Get to know your neighbors
Getting to know the neighborhood and creating a great relationship with your neighbors can be a great way to help with safety. Set up daily check-ins with your neighbors to look in on their well-being and vice versa. Another benefit of making friends is improvement on mental health since most seniors who isolate themselves will experience symptoms of depression due to lack of communication from others.
6. Get a medical alert system
For seniors who live alone to remain independent, purchasing a medical alert system to call for help, track activity and movement is an excellent safety measure. These systems are designed for seniors in mind and include features such as fall detection, GPS monitoring, daily check-ins, fitness tracking and of course offer the ability to call for emergency medical help with the push of a button. These medical alerts can be worn around your neck or on your wrist.
8. Yoga and Meditation
Yoga and meditation can relieve stress and improve mental health. You feel a boost in your mood and decreased feelings of depression. When you meditate, you can spend time with yourself and accept changes going on in life. Yoga is for all different skill levels based on your ability. Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before starting a new workout plan.
9. Acknowledge and treat signs of depression
Depression in seniors is quite common due to loss of employment, living alone, or illness. No matter what the cause, learning about the signs and triggers allows you to identify your depression and take the right measures to find help dealing with it. Staying healthy and being active is one of the ways to ward off depression as endorphins are released when exercising. If you are feeling like you are unsure of what to do, reach out to a medical professional or a loved one for guidance.
10. Make connections
Get to know your neighbors and stay in touch with friends and family. Human interaction is something that we all need to have a fulfilled life. Inviting your neighbors over for a cup of coffee and having a good chat, playing chess or even going for a walk together can substantially improve your quality of life. Frequent check-ins with family and friends is something that should done as part of your routine.
Living in alone can come with its benefits and downfalls. Understanding which precautions to take can help ensure that you live the life you have imagined for yourself. The most important things to keep in mind are to work on being healthy in both mind and body, enjoy the company of others, help yourself by making your environment safe to avoid falls, and be sure to have a medical alert system in case of an emergency.