Hospital Electric Beds For Sale: 11 Thing You're Forgetting To Do

There is no one-size-fits-all roadmap for aging. I have made preparations that will hopefully enable me to remain in my home and receive the support I need, but many seniors fail to plan accordingly. Elder orphans—and their families—surely see the concept of aging in place differently. Elder orphans are those who have lost a significant other, but not necessarily their children. AARP states that 46 million people in the United States today are over 65 years old—and 12 million of them don't receive care from family. [1] For this column, I spoke with three women whose partners died recently and asked them to share their stories about planning for aging in place and where they stand currently. Two of the three women are still in their homes and one is living with family.

The first woman, Angelina Munoz, is 80 years old and widowed. She's lived on her own all her life, but has had to give up certain activities since losing her husband two years ago. "I miss going to the gym," she said. "Before my husband passed I would go every day after work and do some cardio, weights or something like that." Moving around helped keep her body in shape; now she feels achy if she walks more than five blocks at a time. The self-proclaimed gourmet cook can't always prepare elaborate meals for herself anymore because it's hard to reach into high cupboards (she also lives alone). AARP reports that this is a common issue for older people—a need to use light fixtures, drawers and cabinets of any kind can be difficult. For Munoz, cooking healthier meals means switching from using fresh meat and vegetables (which she buys at the corner market on her way home) to frozen or canned because she doesn't have enough strength to cook up whole chickens. Though it's hard for her to reach out and grab things these days, Munoz still cooks "a lot" but not as often as she used to. Her diet consists mainly of chicken, rice and beans and occasionally some fish if she goes out with friends. This wasn't always the case; when her husband was alive they would go out to eat at least three times a week. "I loved food," she admitted, but now it's a different story.

Quality of life isn't always about food for seniors; it can also be as simple as wearing the right clothes. Angelina feels perfectly comfortable in warm weather because her house is air-conditioned and she doesn't have to wear sweaters or jackets around the clock. However, when temperatures drop below 50 degrees outside she wears extra layers of clothing, such as a fleece vest over her shirt in the winter time.