home safety
Are you looking for ways to improve your ability to age in place?  There are a number of changes that can enhance both your home and lifestyle with that goal in mind.  Read on for important tips to help keep you safe, happy, and comfortable throughout your golden years.

Clear your clutter

There is a lot of talk about decluttering these days, and with good reason.  Some experts feel clutter can adversely affect your mental health, leading to issues like anxiety, stress, and reduced productivity.  Caring Transitions notes cutting down on clutter is particularly important for seniors, since clutter can inhibit mobility, increase the likelihood of falls, and cause confusion.  Decluttering can be challenging for seniors, both physically and emotionally.  If you’re struggling with decluttering, one idea is to hire a professional organizer.  They can help you through the process of sorting and rethinking your space, improving navigability and organization throughout your home. Just be aware that professional organizers typically charge $30 to $80 and hour. Along those same lines, if housekeeping is a struggle, you can hire a maid service to come in routinely for cleaning.  To give you an idea for your budget, the average amount homeowners spend on maid services in Sedona ranges from $118 to $212.

Consider some upgrades

Improving your living environment is a big part of aging in place.  With that in mind, consider making some upgrades to your home to make it more accessible.  Even if you aren’t considering major renovations, some small changes can greatly enhance your safety.  For instance, installing grab bars (which can be purchased for under $13) in the bathroom can help you catch yourself if you slip.  Senior-friendly flooring is also a plus, like cork, vinyl, or linoleum.  Improved lighting is helpful to aging eyes, so consider brightening dim corners, adding nightlights, installing task lighting, and using brighter light bulbs. 
Outside, make sure walkways are cleared and level.  Your entryway should be step-free and well-lit.  Consider installing a ramp to make it easier to get in and out of your home, and make sure it includes handrails.  Depending on your location and circumstances, there are programs to help with ramp installations, as well as with other aging in place home modifications.

Cut back on yard work

Working outside, especially in the summer heat, can be hazardous to seniors.  According to some experts, as we grow older our bodies don’t handle extreme temperatures well, so seniors can be more vulnerable to overheating.  Avoid working in the heat of the day, and consider installing easy-care landscaping plants.  Take ample breaks when it’s hot, spending more time in the shade and going inside to cool off in air conditioning.  Also make sure you stay properly hydrated, aiming for around eight glasses of water daily.  Dehydration can sneak up on you, so keep a bottle with you as a reminder to drink regularly. 

Stay strong

One of the most important things seniors can do to boost their long-term independence is to increase their strength and flexibility.  Senior Care Corner explains that through exercise, you can reduce your risk of falling, improve your social life, and remain more functional and energetic.  As little as 10 minutes daily can be beneficial.  Consider doing a little walking and add some balance exercises.  You can also create a home gym making it easier to exercise when the weather is uncooperative.  A little floor space in a spare room or garage is usually enough since you just need an area big enough to stretch out.  Think about adding a couple of pieces of senior-friendly exercise equipment, like an elliptical machine, some resistance bands, and a yoga mat. 
If your desire is to age in place, there are several things you can do to help achieve that goal.  Look for ways to improve your home and lifestyle.  Growing older has its share of challenges, but your home can be a safe haven.