The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that by the year 2060, we will have nearly 100 million individuals aged 65 and older residing in the United States. This is a 50 percent increase from now and will mean older adults will make up nearly 22 percent of the total population nationwide.

Today, approximately one in seven adults belongs to the older adult demographic. If this includes you, then you are likely wondering how to maintain your independence and freedom into your golden years, which may include these four innovative methods!

1. Medical Alert Devices

Medical alert devices are so useful it is surprising everyone doesn’t use them. These devices offer high level safety and security as well as medical alert services and can be customized to suit highly personalized needs. 

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Some devices work only for specific diseases, such as diabetes or asthma. Others are designed to detect events, such as falls or fainting. Wearable options include wrist bands, bracelets or necklaces for wearing while out and about and mounted units for in-home use that provide for two-way talk with help personnel.

These alert devices can help you stay independent for much longer and continue living in your own home, which is something 90 percent of older adults express a strong desire to achieve.

2. Power Wheelchairs & Scooters

Today’s new breed of electric wheelchairs and power scooters are faster, comfier and more maneuverable than their predecessors could have dreamed of becoming. 

With bucket seats to rival those of tricked-out race cars and three and four wheel versions to give you the perfect range of stability and maneuverability, you will be able to continue pursuing an active lifestyle. There are many add-ons as well, including ramps, baskets, bags, armchair controllers, leg and foot rests and much more.

3. Bathroom, Shower & Tub Retrofits

The bathroom is known to be the most dangerous room in the house regardless of age. However, for older adults in particular, a fall in the bathroom could lead to a major injury with equally major life-limiting recovery time. 

For this reason, an unsafe bathroom layout is one of the major reasons why adults have to move to assisted care or nursing facilities rather than being able to stay at home and age comfortably in place.

Luckily, there are many things that can be done today to retrofit nearly any bathroom for comfortable, safe use. From installing a toilet riser and safety grip bars to converting to a walk-in tub or a seated shower stall, adding voice-activated lights and fixtures and lever handles that are easier to operate, along with a bathroom retrofit comes a noticeable increase in independence and freedom.

4. Brain Games

Just as it is important to exercise the body for improved muscle control, strength, flexibility, coordination and overall fitness, so too is it important to exercise the brain to keep memory and recall sharp and make new neural connections (which keep your brain young).

Rather than opting for the new and often pricey suite of brain games, you can opt for common fun activities like completing crossword puzzles and Sudoku puzzles, enroll in classes that teach you new skills, engage in knitting or cross-stitch, take up a new sport or start playing the piano again. Each of these activities and many others can stimulate your cognitive and neurological networks to stay fresh, active and attentive.

Aging does not have to steal your freedom or cripple your opportunities. Taking advantage of technological advances and research proven results, you can increase your independent living options and take charge of your golden years.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan suggests looking at power scooters by Orbit Medical to gain mobility and freedom in your life. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure.

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