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“Spring is the time of plans and projects,” according to Tolstoy. As winter draws to a close, spring sparks our imagination. Maybe spring means planning our gardens, or tackling new home improvement projects for you. For others, spring means it’s time for cleaning. And if you’ve chosen aging in place, spring cleaning really should mean more than cleaning out closets, drawers, and even the garage. We believe you need a spring cleaning checklist for your aging in place plan.

Aging in place offers many benefits, including giving you a greater level of control over your personal life. Many seniors feel safer in their own home. Other seniors feel they are at a lower risk of exposure to bacteria and viruses. Those who choose to stay in their home report a higher level of happiness and find it easier to maintain a strong social network. Each of these benefits deserve a little extra attention now and then. So while you’re sorting through your closets or arranging for the carpets to be deep cleaned, now’s the perfect time to check that your aging in place plan is up to the task.

Freedom and Independence

Being king, or queen, of your castle is a heady feeling.  Being in control of our lives is something we all want. It’s as true of the teen version of you yearning to slip out from under parental supervision to the older version who want to remain independent by making the decisions about your short- and long-term care needs.

As part of your spring cleaning checklist, take a look at things you take for granted that could change in the future. If you could no longer drive, how would you handle grocery shopping or doctor visits? Could you get around in your home if you need a walker or a wheelchair? And don’t forget meal preparation if you break an arm or a wrist. Who would you call? Who could help you?

Safety First

While deep cleaning of your home is the most common spring cleaning chore, it’s also one of the least liked. But while you’re working your way through each room, take a closer look at potential safety issues in your home and life.

Face masks and frequent hand washing have become a habit to minimize your exposure to viruses and bacteria. It’s a great way to stay healthy. But did you know that most older women fall in the house, and most men fall in the garden?  Look at your floors and their condition. Are there any slippery or worn spots? Do you have non-slip rugs? Are there any places where a wheelchair or cane could be an issue? While you’re planning the garden or starting yard work, take a look around for potential tripping hazards.

Healthy Mind, Body & Spirit

No spring cleaning checklist for aging in place should be complete without an annual Wellness Visit to your doctor (it’s a perk for those of us who have Medicare). It’s not a physical exam, but rather a chance for your provider to work with you to help you stay healthy with a personalized prevention plan.

We all have days when we’re a little blue or sad. While you’re cleaning, ask yourself if those days are getting more numerous. If the answer is yes, it’s time to speak to someone like your pastor, doctor or a trusted advisor. Maintaining our emotional and mental health is vital to maintaining our physical health and our ability to bounce back when life delivers challenges. If you don’t already have someone you can speak to about this aspect of your life, now is the time to find someone.

Strengthen Your Social Ties

Social isolation and loneliness have a negative impact on seniors, including higher blood pressure, obesity, and cognitive decline. Healthy aging in place means spending time with friends, family and acquaintances, whether in person, or by phone, snail mail, or on social media. While your social circle might be smaller than when you were in your 30s, your friendships and family ties are probably deeper and stronger now.

While you’re checking things off your spring cleaning list, ask yourself when was the last time you wrote a letter, sent an email or phoned a friend? Are you spending meaningful time in productive activities that involve others and bring you joy? Do you stop to chat with neighbors or strike up casual conversations when the occasion presents itself?

Plan to Succeed

Spring cleaning brings its own rewards. It’s a chance to declutter and donate things you no longer need. Once it’s done, there’s a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. Addressing your plans to age in place can give you greater confidence in the future. But we all know sometimes we need friends to be there for us. If your plan isn’t solid, if you’re wondering about who would be there for you, we’d like to invite you to a plated luncheon on April 7, 2022 to learn about Fellowship Freedom Plans. We want to introduce you to that someone who is there, 24/7, when you need them. That someone is your personal Care Coordinator.

Join us on April 7, 2022 at noon at Fox Hollow Golf Club for a brief presentation about the advantages of choosing Fellowship Freedom Plans. It’s the best way to get your plan for aging in place started.