The month of February has the distinction of being National Senior Independence Month. Everyone definitely should be celebrating the fortitude and resilience that many seniors have as most of them struggle in silence.
In this day and age, ageism is more pervasive than racism. This means people are more likely to be discriminated against for their age than their race. And with the world’s population rapidly aging, by 2050 there will be two billion senior citizens. And in case you didn’t know the title of being “elderly” gets placed upon you at the age of 65 these days.
Focus on safety around the house
If someone is trying to “age in place,” it means to have the ability to live in their own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level. It won’t hurt to make some upgrades to their home that will give them and their family peace of mind.
First, is be sure to make any repairs that have been put off; some of them (a loose railing on the stairs, for instance) can create unsafe conditions. Others like an improvement to heating and cooling units could save money down the road.
Once all of those items are taken care of, a senior can start adding some new features that prioritize their safety. Installing some grab bars in the shower and around the toilet to help avoid falls is important. Other upgrades could be a medical alert system, lever-style door and sink handles, or improved lighting and night lighting for low vision problems that may develop. Maybe even a ramp for easy access into their home to accommodate walkers or wheelchairs is something to consider.
Sound expensive? There might be help available for paying for these changes. Someone can get almost any type of help they want in their home though oftentimes there is a service fee. More information can be obtained on many of the services available, from a local Area Agency on Aging.
The federal government offers many resources for seniors as well. A good place to start could be the website for the Administration for Community Living at longtermcare.gov.
Serious to fun
But that’s not all seniors celebrate this month. Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Low Vision Awareness Month are also celebrated in February. Low vision can make it hard to do things like reading, shopping, cooking, or writing. And it can’t be fixed with eyeglasses, contact lenses, medications, or surgery.
Maybe as a senior citizen, you are more into celebrating Spunky Old Broads Month. Dr. Gayle Carson (the founder of the holiday), a life coach, who primarily focuses on helping older women in particular, thought that using the words spunky, old, and broad all had negative connotations and had decided to put them together to create something positive, coming up with Spunky Old Broads (SOBs) month.
So no matter what you want to celebrate this February as a senior, one thing to remember is that independence gives a sense of purpose.