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Getting older doesn’t necessarily mean you have to start looking at alternative places to live like assisted living facilities, especially if you really want to stay put.

See Also: Universal Design Can Help People Age in Their Homes

“You should look at everything from the neighborhood you live in to what modifications you can make in your home that will assist you in staying in your home for as long as you are physically and financially able to do so,” Jerry Cohen, AARP Oregon State Director.

For example, Portland was the first city in the United States to be designated an age-friendly city by the World Health Organization.

Does your community have adequate walking trails, bike paths and safe and reliable public transportation?

Seniors need to get up and around and be social to have a quality life. If personal driving is no longer an option then getting to and from places, safely and comfortably are factors to be looked into.

Next, look at your neighborhood. How easy is it to be socially and actively engaged? Is there a community center you can go to? Are your neighbors friendly and people you trust? Are there enough volunteer opportunities to encourage you to get involved? Jerry said seniors need to feel valued and being active prevents that downward spiral often seen once people lose their sense of worth.

Now look at your house. There are actually very minor modifications that can make living in your home easier. Door levers can replace handles, and it may be the butt of many jokes, but the “Clapper”, which turns on and off lights at the sound of a clap, actually works well. Wheelchair ramps should be considered and countertops and doorways can be modified to accommodate disabilities.

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