Despite the health issues that can come with age, many seniors remain active and vital long after retirement and look forward to the goal of aging in place.

Staying in one’s home as long as possible is important for most individuals, but there are so many things to think about. As we get older, for instance, there is a heightened risk of cognitive and physical decline, of falls that can lead to broken bones, and trouble completing daily tasks, such as taking the stairs or cooking dinner.

So it’s imperative to be aware of the risks and to have a plan on the best ways to avoid them.

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There are several ways you can prepare for aging in place, including getting your home ready and finding ways to get your mind and body in the best shape possible shape. Here are a few of the best tips for doing just that…

Keep your brain sharp
Doing jigsaws, word, or math puzzles will help you stay sharp and they’re fun too. Set a goal to complete a game or puzzle every day and challenge yourself to move up to more difficult levels once in a while.

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Take a look around the house

Look around your house with a discerning eye; if your health was in decline, would you still be able to move around freely? Would it be easy to reach things in the kitchen and cook for yourself? Remove all throw rugs – which can be trip hazards – and install rubber-backed mats in the bathroom to prevent slips and falls.

You might also consider putting a grab-bar or seat in the shower. Ramps are great for outdoor steps; for indoor staircases, make sure there is good lighting and the steps are clutter-free and visible at night. Furniture is a concern as well; chairs need to be easy to get out of and all furniture should be placed in areas that create plenty of room to walk.

Get outside
Getting outside for some fresh air and daily exercise can help you feel better and stay fit. Set a goal to walk a certain distance each day, or check out your local athletic club or YMCA for access to a swimming pool. Gardening and landscaping is another great way to get outdoors and stay active. Just remember to wear sunblock and stay hydrated.

Consider a pet
Pets – especially dogs – can be great companions and motivators. Studies have shown that simply petting a dog can lower blood pressure and help the individual feel more relaxed, and cutting stress is a big part of staying healthy. Even if you don’t wish to adopt one yourself, you may be able to get involved with pet sitting and even manage to make a little extra income at the same time.

Stay social
Staying social can help keep your mind active and elevate your mood. Write a long letter to an old friend, organize a book club, or plan on spending one day a week with friends or family. Having a support system in your life is always a good thing.

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