Ageing and independence: How to live at home alone for longer

Here's how a few domestic changes can make it easier to stay at home as you age…

As we age, maintaining independence and living alone can be difficult. But with a bit of help, it needn’t be impossible.

Here, Lucy Harmer, the director of services at Independent Age, a charity offering support for older people, shares her advice on how to make living alone less of a challenge

Get help with household chores

“If you’re starting to find household chores a burden, you may be able to get extra help with things like cleaning, gardening and even shopping. Employing someone to help at home could also mean you’ll have regular company and someone to keep an extra eye out for you.”

Consider investing in equipment to help around the home

“There may be equipment and adaptations you can get to help you stay in your home for longer, such as installing a stairlift, grab rails or a wet room. Get in touch with your local council to arrange a care needs assessment involving an occupational therapist to find out what you need and if you could be eligible for financial help.”

Use technology to your advantage

“There are a range of gadgets available which could help make life easier and keep you safe at home. Telecare services involve alarms and sensors which can trigger a call for help when activated, including movement sensors which can detect a fall and fire alarms which automatically call for help.”

Consider hiring help with personal care 

“Carers can visit to help with things like washing and dressing, getting in and out of bed and preparing and eating food. The council may be able to help you with this or you could employ someone yourself, either directly or through an agency. Get in touch with your local council to arrange a care needs assessment to find out what you need and what support may be available.”

Find out if you’re eligible to help after hospital stays

“If you need extra support after a hospital stay, make sure the hospital arranges an assessment before you’re discharged, looking at what care you may need after you leave. You may be eligible for free, short-term care for up to six weeks to help you regain independence, which is sometimes known as intermediate care or reablement.”

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