Harvard Women's Health Watch

Staying independent in our later years

There are many ways to keep on the move and living on your own in older age.

We all hope to stay active and independent for the rest of our lives. And most of us want to stay in the familiar surroundings of our own homes and neighborhoods, rather than move to an assisted living or continuing care community, or — worse — a nursing home, a prospect so devastating that, according to a study published in the medical journal BMJ, many older women who suffer hip fractures say they would rather die than face it.

Fortunately, there are ways to help ensure that you never have to make such a dire choice. Addressing a handful of health risks at midlife can profoundly affect your ability to continue living independently. Meanwhile, new concepts and technologies are helping to make staying in our own homes and communities an attainable goal for increasing numbers of us. Below are some steps you can take — and recommend to friends and aging parents.

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