Family New Year’s Resolutions

The holidays are a time of family traditions and celebrations. People connect and make memories, but as with every year, holidays come and go. Once Thanksgiving and Christmas have passed, many people look forward to the new year as a fresh beginning. For seniors, it can be more challenging to get excited about the new year.

Understanding the apprehension a senior feels about the new year is important for helping them develop a better perspective. Typically, New Year’s resolutions have something to do with self-improvement. For an aging senior, these types of vows may not be as attainable as they were years ago. Of course losing weight, eating better and exercising daily is important, but it’s not necessarily the best focus for a senior. A team effort may be just the ticket to jump start 2016.

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Here are some ideas for how to build a new tradition with family by sharing a resolution that will last all year long…

Get tech savvy – Believe it or not, seniors are the fastest growing demographic on social networks. If older loved ones don’t already have a computer or tablet, now might be the right time to introduce one. Once past the initial learning curve, technology and social media are excellent ways to share pictures, communicate remotely and to keep them engaged with something. If your loved one is intimidated, teach them the basics. Not only will it build a platform to connect in the future, but it could bring you together in the present as well.

Start a letter journal – Seniors come from a generation when handwritten letters were the norm. Many still view letter writing as a personal way of keeping in contact with family near and far. Starting a letter journal might even provide your family with a fun, new tradition that will last for years. You can start by picking out a journal together. Take turns writing letters before returning it to the next family member to write inside. Sharing a letter journal with your loved one is a unique way to strengthen your connection and get to know each other better.

Share an activity – For most of us, free time is limited, but there is bound to be a shared interest that family members can find time to connect over. Whether it’s once a month or once a week, participate in an activity together. It can be difficult for seniors to get out and be active by themselves, but there are many options for getting together. Make it a regular occasion to join them at church or community socials or sign up for a volunteering opportunity together. It can even be as simple as setting a monthly date for a family dinner at home. Remember, don’t let one outing end until the next one is on the calendar!

New Year’s resolutions help everyone feel a greater sense of purpose, and this couldn’t be more true for a senior. Take the time to understand what your loved one wants to get out of the new year, and create a family resolution that helps them achieve it. For more ways to help the seniors in your life make the most out of 2016, contact AT Home Care at (804) 359-3400.

Aging in Place: Home Living Trends

Aging in place is the optimal choice for seniors who want the highest quality of life as they age. While health and physical ability are key factors for aging in place, the decision is also largely based on the livability of the home. In order to successfully age in place, the environment must promote safety, comfort and independence.

In most cases, the homes where you’ve raised your family, and even some newer homes, aren’t senior-friendly. But, the decision to remodel or relocate isn’t always feasible or desirable. So the greatest challenge of aging in place is oftentimes how to adapt the existing environment to better support the needs of aging bodies and minds.  

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There are a number of recent trends to follow in adapting the home for successful aging in place. Achievable without remodeling or moving, these trends require a small investment and some professional help, but in the end, offer a safe and livable solution.

Top Home Design Trends

Level Entry – Easy access to the inside of a home is key. Whether it’s raining, icy or you simply have a handful of groceries, there must be a safe point of entry for the home. Modifications to the space between a garage and the home or for exterior doors leading inside are popular trends in home design for those aging in place. Depending on the slope, this may be as easy as installing a ramp.

Easy Reach Cabinets and Accessible Storage – High cabinets aren’t desirable because they require climbing, reaching and lifting. Installing shorter cabinets is great, but if new cabinets aren’t an option, there are other alternatives for fixing hard-to-reach cabinets. Simple drawer modifications or extensions can offer plentiful storage at waist level.

User-Friendly Appliances – Most ovens, dishwashers and refrigerators are designed with doors, but some newer models contain drawers. Drawer appliances are becoming popular with seniors because they are more comfortable in height, and eliminate the need to bend over. These types of appliances reduce back strain that develops from loading and unloading items.

No Threshold Bath and Shower Entry – Statistics show 80% of falls happen in the bathroom. Safe entry into the bath or shower is critical. Your bathroom doesn’t need to undergo a major renovation, rather a tub or shower conversion that provides safer entry. Installing grab bars are another way to reduce bathroom hazards.

Open Spaces – Achieving an open floor plan may sound like a big undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be. Sure, opening up living spaces is attainable by knocking down a wall or two, but you don’t have to undergo demolition to create open rooms. Replace traditional doors with recessed or pocket doors, even try folding, accordion style doors. Not only does this widen space to get from one room to the next, but it eliminates the potential hazard caused by a propped open door. Don’t just focus on the door, but also check out the many user-friendly hardware options to compliment them.

As seniors strive to age in place, new trends are emerging to make the transition easier and safer. While some home modifications may require more money and the help of a professional contractor, there are government and nonprofit programs available to help seniors make the changes necessary to stay in their homes. For more information on trends in home design for seniors aging in place, contact AT Home Care today at (804) 359-3400.