“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.
[State of the Union Address January 11 1962]”
― John F. Kennedy
Most people are always thinking ahead. However, we seldom think of how we will cope when we are elderly.
We don’t think about the nitty gritty details of living at home, common ailments that are just a bit bothersome now, can become debilitating when we age.
Once we are retired, we should be planning ahead to safe-proof our future and make it as comfortable, independent and easy living as possible.
So where do we start?
A good place to start is to assess your health now and predict how illnesses you have may affect you down the road. Figure out what you can do now, that you’ll thank yourself for later.
The best approach to life in terms of disease is prevention. Ensure you go for regular check-ups, exercise and eat a balanced nutritious diet. However, if you have arthritis, diabetes, heart conditions, or any lifelong illness you need to have a management plan in place.
Even if you are fit and healthy there are other things to put in place to ensure your safety. Growing old can leave a person vulnerable. The point of thinking ahead is to avoid being vulnerable by implementing safety measures.
Support to help you stay in the home you love
For many people, their home is their sanctuary. It has been a place filled with memories and the thought of having to leave it would be indescribable.
Nobody wants to end up in a nursing home and whilst this is an unavoidable necessity for some, for others it could be avoided with early intervention. That being said, many people will live a very uncomfortable life, unable to cook, clean, wash or even go upstairs, just to remain in their home. Quality of life should never be compromised.
By thinking ahead, you gift yourself with the power to dictate your future, so why wouldn’t you?
Here are ways to ensure you stay in your home, happy and independently.
There are many different agencies that provide private home help. The help available ranges from personal care, cleaning, cooking or more specialised medical services. Depending on your needs the help you require may range from an hour a week to a couple every day.
Here is a list of just some of the private home help agencies in Ireland:
HSE Homecare Package
The HSE offer a Home Care Package which includes extra services and supports that are over and above the normal community services that the HSE provides directly or through a HSE funded service. Follow the link for more information.
Home Care Packages by the HSE
Day Care Centres
Adult Day Care is another great option if you want to remain in your home but also want to get out and socialise! Adult day care centres provide social, physical and nutritional needs.
It is extremely important for elderly people to eat a balanced nutritious diet. Elderly people are most at risk for illnesses and diet is such a crucial factor in preventing this. Cooking can often be a difficult task due to a pre-existing illness or simply that the person is living alone and can’t be bothered to cook just for one.
There are schemes in place such as Meals on Wheels where you pay a small amount of money and get a hot meal most days of the week. Perhaps you can go to family for Sunday dinner, or meet a friend or social group a different day.
There are also home help options where carers will come to your home and can prepare a meal for you.
Accessibility in your home – Home Modifications
Safe-proofing yourself in your home is vital to prevent accidents. If you are starting to find it difficult to bathe or get up steps, now is the time to address these issues. Too often, people wait until it’s too late to have the appropriate aids in place.
The time to get a stairlift or ramp is before you fall, not after! There are grants available for housing adaptations such as having a bathroom conversion and/or stairlift installed.
Minister Simon Convey announced that €59.8 million has been allocated for housing adaptation grants in 2018, a fantastic opportunity for people who want to remain in their cherished home.
The process can take between two to six months, therefore, it is always wise to apply before it’s too late.
You can find more information about grants here – Citizens Information – Housing Grants and Schemes
Useful Aids for Mobility in the Home:
- A ramp and hand rails for front door
- A stairlift
- Grab rails
- A shower seat or bath lift
- Bed raiser
- Level access shower/wet room
- A rising/reclining chair
- Long Reach Easy Grabber
- Elevated Toilet
- Non-slip mats
- View More…
Social supports & groups
Socialising is arguably as important for your health as nutrition! People need interaction to thrive.
You may be content with your partner or family when you retire but that may change down the line. One day you may find yourself recently widowed or bored at home with all the time retirement brings. Before retirement, you may not have had time for hobbies so now is an exciting time to start.
Within your local community, there are so many groups and organisations to join.
A great place to start is to join the Active Retirement group in your local area, within the group you will surely find something that interest you. Men’s Sheds are also growing in popularlity and provide a great resource for men in the community.
We hope this blog has been helpful in giving you an idea of the various aspects of life that you probably haven’t given a second thought to yet.
If you or a family member are retired or set to retire soon, now is the time to be planning for the future.
Growing old is a privilege that many people don’t get, so enjoy it and embrace it with knowledge!