As we get older, many of us find ourselves living alone, whether by choice or by circumstance. Living independently can be both liberating and challenging for seniors. While solitude allows you to maintain your routine and preferences, it also means you don’t have anyone at home to help out or keep you company. Fortunately, there are ways for seniors to get the most out of living alone.
Maintaining Your Home
One of the biggest challenges of living alone is upkeeping your home. When you don’t have anyone else around to help clean, do repairs or yardwork, it can be difficult to stay on top of household chores. Here are some tips to make home maintenance more manageable:
Create a Routine
Get in the habit of tackling certain chores on designated days. For example, you could vacuum and dust on Mondays, clean bathrooms on Tuesdays, etc. Sticking to a routine will help you stay organized and prevent messy buildup.
Seek Help When Needed
Don’t be afraid to call a handyman for help with repairs or hire a landscaping company to handle outdoor work. Many communities have teen volunteers who can assist seniors with yardwork or cleaning for little or no cost. There’s no shame in asking for help to lighten your load.
Clutter can quickly get out of control when you live alone. Make decluttering a part of your weekly routine. Go through your home periodically and get rid of items you no longer need. Having less stuff will make cleaning easier.
Loneliness is common among seniors who live alone. Be proactive about getting social interaction:
Connect with Friends and Family
Make it a priority to regularly call, text, email, video chat or visit with friends and family members. Let loved ones know you’re available for a phone call if they have some time to talk.
Go Out Daily
Even just getting out to run errands or go for a short walk can provide social contact and a change of scenery. Eat meals out at your favorite cafe or restaurant to be around others. Attend religious services, join a gym, volunteer, or participate in other community activities.
Consider a Companion
If you want someone to talk to and keep you company on a regular basis, consider hiring a part-time companion who can visit you at home. There are also volunteer companion programs that pair seniors with weekly visitors.
Maintaining Your Health
Living alone makes it harder to monitor your physical and mental health. You have to be diligent about caring for yourself:
Keep All Doctors’ Appointments
Don’t skip checkups with your primary care doctor or specialists. Go to the ER or call 911 if you experience chest pain, difficulty breathing or other emergencies. Have someone who can check on you if you get sick.
Eat Nutritious Meals
Plan healthy snacks and meals. Frozen or canned foods can make cooking for one easier. Order groceries online for delivery if you can’t get to the store easily. Drink plenty of water and take your medications as prescribed.
Do strength training, stretching and cardio exercise several times per week. This helps you stay active, retain mobility and reduce the risk of falls. Many communities have exercise classes tailored to seniors.
Monitor Your Mood
Stay aware of your mental health and watch for signs of depression or anxiety. Don’t dismiss feelings of sadness or irritability. Talk to your doctor and get treatment if needed. Staying socially and physically active can help boost your mood.
Enjoying Your Golden Years
Despite the challenges, living alone as a senior can be a rewarding experience. Maintaining your home, staying social, and caring for your health will allow you to make the most of your independence. Take time to enjoy hobbies like reading, puzzles, gardening and cooking. Go on trips or have over grandchildren to stay connected. With the right approach, your golden years can be fulfilling even if you live on your own.
Living independently requires some adjustments but can be a great lifestyle for seniors. For those in need of more help around the home, services like veterans home care provide assistance with daily activities so that seniors can continue living in their own houses safely and comfortably. With the right preparation and support, the solo life can be deeply satisfying.