\Moving into a senior living community—with myriad social, educational, and wellness opportunities— can be one of the best choices you can make for health and happiness in your golden years.
However, more and more frequently, older adults are choosing to age at home. The option of continuing to live as an independent senior in familiar surroundings is certainly appealing, but aging at home successfully often require expensive senior services and technologies.
We have a few suggestions for how to use or reinvent technologies you may already own to make living at home safer and more affordable in the long run.
1. Your appliances
These days, many seniors living at home have chosen to make renovations to accommodate their future needs. The kitchen is typically one of the first projects on the list. If you don’t want to go all in for a complete remodel, consider making a few affordable changes.
Many high-efficiency appliances have built in safety features that mean you don’t have to give up the culinary arts as you get older.
Some of the newer energy-efficient stovetops have lower temperature burners that save you money and help prevent fires.
The electric ranges feature cast-iron plates over each burner that reach temperatures that can cook a meal, but never burn hot enough set common kitchen items, like a pot holder, alight if they have been left on a burner by mistake. This feature can also be retrofit onto older models.
Stove turn-off timers.
Have you ever stepped out of the house—to chat with a neighbor or run a quick errand before dinner only to suddenly realize that you’ve left the oven on?
We’ve certainly ruined a few good pans that way.
Most stoves these days come already equipped with a timer that you can set so that your stove will automatically turn off after a set period of time. Other, more advanced models, also have a sensor that will initiate a shutdown when no movement is detected.
You can get rid of your old range altogether with induction cooking. Instead of traditional gas or electric cooking, induction cooking uses a magnetic field to heat the cookware instead of the range. While you’ll still scorch your dinner if you leave a pan on the range, you don’t have to worry about the kitchen burning down because the cooktop itself never gets hot. You can find induction cooking options for full ranges, cooktops, and even portable hot plates.
2. Your car
Being able to get out of the house and around town—for doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, and other errands—is a necessity for a senior living on their own. That means safe and reliable transportation.
You may not want to fuss with all the space-age tools on your dashboard, but learning how to use them can make a difference in your driving safety.
AARP has the scoop on all of the latest technology that helps keep older adults safer on the road:
- Night Vision: You don’t have to worry about impaired night vision with this infrared and thermal imaging technology that displays a picture of the road ahead of you on the car's navigation system screen.
- Pedestrian Detection: If you’ve ever wished for a second set of eyes, your dream has come true. Infrared technology scans for objects in the car's path and warns you if it detects an object you haven’t seen.
- Lane Departure Warning: Cameras keep a virtual eye on lane markers and sound an alarm if you start to drift. Some will even correct for you—automatically braking the vehicle and steering back into the correct lane.
- Blind Spot Warning: If you start merging into a lane where a vehicle is hiding in your blind spot, the system provides both a visual and audible alert.
- Rear- and Top-View Cameras: Reverse your car without having to strain your neck with a rear-view camera. A top-view camera provides even greater visibility, offering a 360-degree view from the vehicle as you drive.
- Self-Parking: If you have trouble with parallel parking, this system is your new best friend. It controls steering and braking to help you make sure your car is snug in its parking spot.
Take a look at our tip sheet to see the top 10 indicators that it may be time for a move into senior living.
Image Credit: Ember Studio