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I do not have a caregiver because I can get around pretty well myself. My family lives far away. They call, but are of no help here at home. I am starting to worry about showering alone, have some dizziness. My food is delivered from the grocery near by. Things are not going to get better, so I want suggestions about keeping hair and body clean, safely! Also, how to grow older 'gracefully' with some sense of dignity. I have a friend, we live miles apart, but she has many of the same concerns, We cannot live together (it's too complicated to explain). She is in her early 80's. The humor group on here may be of some help! :) A pick me up!

I so agree with Polar Bear that the key is health.
Age is really almost irrelevant these days. I am 78 and my partner is 80 and we are both very active and pro-active. I would say that the biggest thing I notice with aging is that those friends who stay physically active stay more well. As a nurse I knew early on when I had 80 year old patients put on "bedrest" by their doctors, that not moving around was actually "feared"; they would say "I have to move or I won't be ABLE to move".
So keep walking. Exercise both "balance exercises" and strength (my partner keeps at it with archery). Exercise wonderful for the bones, ligaments and muscles, joints, digestion--for EVERYTHING. Wear good footwear. Be careful with stairs.
You mention "dizziness". That's not really "normal" at almost any age, so check it out with your doctor. Sometimes when we are older we go into office, get high blood pressure reading, get doled out a mess of blood pressure pill, and when home our pressure returns to normal, then LOWER than normal and dizziness is the result. I take meds for chronic atrial fib for more than two decades, so I take my own pressure twice daily because of a medication I have to take.
Friends are a wonderful support as well as a joy to have. So whether through a church group if you are a believer, or a club if you read or knit, or a senior center, try to stay engaged, share, and share in times of need what you can give/what you may receive. There is a senior center near me that serves lunch. Not for me but friends go just for companionship.
I walk, garden, read, visit (when covid isn't about), do "social media" like this, and any number of other things. We foster to place dogs now, having lost the last of our elder dogs, and not wanting to burden children with any in future. We occ. babysit for neighbors dogs; keeps you walking.
I can't know what assets you have saved, but if we do live so long then ALF can be the way to go for companionship, safety and help in future. There are the "Village" groups, if you are familiar with them, and near a city big enough to have them, which provide support.
Good luck. I think you are doing the thinking about all of this that we ALL do. That is to say, next time the toilet needs replacing I will get the taller model!
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Ok, remember that unless you are involved in some dirty activity you probably only need to take a shower or bath - once a week; that probably includes your hair. I have stool by my bathroom sink and I do sink bath in between my shower; Although that I don't do daily. My face, and teeth are done daily.

Growing old gracefully. in my mind; means doing exactly what you are doing -- making choices about what you can and can't do and making changes in our life before they are forced on us.
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Reply to MsRandall
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Also, I have some suggestions on showering safely. These are what I have for my mother.

A shower chair so you can sit in the tub.
A non slip mat to put on the floor of the tub.
A handheld shower head so you clean yourself well.
Grab bars in and around the tub and bathroom where you hands naturally reach for support.
A non slip bath mat.

Recently, there's a thread that discusses modifications/additions to the home to help aging parents stay in place safely. I'll look for it. If I find it, I'll post a link.

I'm sure other posters will have more suggestions for you.
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Reply to polarbear
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ArtistDaughter Oct 15, 2020
Exactly what I was going to say.
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Hi Winnie
Your question is such a good one. I have so much I would like to share with you on the subject. I find it difficult to net it out but I will try.
Read the book “Being Mortal, Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Atul Gawande.
Its not going to talk about baths but will help give you an overview of aging in the US and some scenarios of seniors and decisions they made that Dr Gawande uses to help us ferrett out what’s important to our aging loved ones.
Look Up IADLs and ADLs. These are the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living and then Activities of Daily Living that the various medical entities use to determine how well a person is functioning. The IADLs are necessary to live independently in the community. Many elders think they are living independently when actually they are dependent on caregivers to maintain that status. That’s an important distinction for anyone wanting to age in place.

The health issues you mention need to be addressed with your primary doctor. While you do that, ask for an occupational and/or physical therapist to come to your home for an evaluation. Your insurance should cover this cost depending on whether you have a traditional or Medicare advantage plan.

Make life as simple and automatic as possible with your auto draft bill paying, to the grocery deliveries, to a geriatric primary doc., a good housekeeper, a gardener, a pharmacy that delivers. All services that are necessary to keep your life humming along.

Downsize and edit your belongings with an eye out for safety and ease of maintenance.

Also contact your Area Agency on Aging. Each county has one. See what services you might qualify for now or in the future. You can look over their website for general information.

Check out a medical alert system.

Last I would suggest a visit to a certified elder attorney well versed in Medicaid rules for your state. Make sure all your medical and financial paperwork is in good order, your end of life plans made. Choose wisely on your POA for finances and medical. If you made your documents up years ago, be sure to double check them to make sure they are all still in good order and that your agents are still the right choice for you.

As you wisely noted, it’s not going to get better. It will never be as easy as it is now to take action.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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Maybe call your friend when you are getting in shower and getting out and she can do same for you. If she doesn’t get call back she will know you are in trouble and call 911 for you. Better than laying on floor for days
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Reply to Buffytwmo49
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I still consider 70 pretty young... :-) I have coworkers that are almost 70.

You don't mention what your health issues are.  Have you talked with your doctor about the dizziness?  There are senior apartment communities and there is always assisted living.  The senior apartment communities are not so ridiculously priced like assisted living is, but with either of those, you would have more opportunity for socialization and friendships.  Friends in the same boat tend to look out for one another and that is always helpful.  Both of those living situations are typically set up with widened doorways to accommodate the width of wheelchairs and walkers.  They are also built with grab bars in the bathrooms/showers....etc.  I think the key is to not keep yourself isolated.  Declutter your home...get rid of all the excess so that you have less to clean and less stuff to maneuver around which could be a tripping hazard.  See if there is a senior community center near by.  Many of those centers can arrange transportation.   Having somewhere to go and something to do gives you purpose and a schedule and I always find that helpful. 

Take care Winniebe.
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Reply to Jamesj
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Have you checked with your doctor to see why you are dizzy? It isn't natural.

I am 86 and hubby 88. So here is some ideas.

Exercise! keep your strength up. This includes lifting weights.
Have grab bars all over the bathroom.
Have a place at eye level to store shampoo and stuff. So you don't bend over and straighten up.
When the time comes, use a shower chair.
Don't be too proud to use cane, walker, rollator, whatever. (I have a real problem with this).
I am not there yet, but I have a box for my rollator that I can put dirty clothes in when I take them to the washing machine.
Get a personal safety device (help I have fallen down and can't get up). You can wear it in the shower.
If you try to cut corners and hurry, Remember, do you want some good looking firefighter seeing you buck naked? So, take your time.
I am sure others have some very good ideas.
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Reply to MaryKathleen
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First, try to carefully and thoroughly study to find out why you are having dizziness.Dizziness is definitely not a sign of aging. Could something you are or are not doing be causing dizziness?Perhaps, some undiagnosed health condition is causing it. On the other hand, perhaps a medicine and or medicines could be causing it. Obviously, a person with any bouts of dizziness of any kind cannot safely manage without at least some daily help.Severe vitamin and or mineral deficiencies cause dizziness and other nervous system problems.You need a very caring and competent doctor to help you find out what the problem is. I am 86, healthystrong, med free, and pain free, and thankfully dizziness free.I was working full time until age 73 and feeling strong and well in every way.I believe my healthy diet of lots of daily home grown and or organic berries, fruits, and veggies plus daily olive oil, minced garlic, and apple cider vinegar along with daily whole eggs and whole milk preserved and protected my health. However, I also threw away prescriptions for lipitor, vicodin, thiazide, and fosomax without ever filling them.Statins and diuretics drain nutrients from the body and definitely could cause dizziness.Some beta blockers also can cause dizziness. May God bless you and guide you to excellent diagnoses and help.
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Reply to BobbieSena
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Screennamed Oct 15, 2020
Your 86 years illustrated in your post, shows an insight that many will benefit from. Most aren't provided insight into dangers of popular prescriptions, such as statins, which are liver killers,
I had a co-worker [doctor M.D.] who said he had failed to recognize a patient's statin direct drug interaction DDI, Later, he said he who prescribed statins, based on "junk," a pharmaceutical company sent him.

The "pharma database" would cite one-liners from research articles, pulling sentences out of context, to justify utilization (prescriptions) of statins--> his wording used, He said he changed his perspective, when he was prescribed a statin, by his doc. The effects he experienced ended-up being a "very educational experience."
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What a great question! I was the caregiver for both my Mom and husband, both gone now. Although I’m only 59 years young, it made me really think of my future.
After caring for both of them I changed my diet for the better, went Keto/low carb, got away from allopathic sick care and take zero prescriptions. Get plenty of excerise both mentally and physically and have been getting ready to downsize.
Im lucky to have gained so much experience as I know what will be needed and am working to having things in place, before they are needed.
My daughter lives abroad, so basically I am not counting on her help and am on my own.
I have two friends in their mid 80’s who are in complete denial that they need help and refuse to make any changes to make their lives easier and think I’m nuts for planning ahead I see this a few ways, ignorance is bliss and that in these crazy times you can not afford not to prepare. I’m going with the latter.
Like walk in showers with seating, raised toilets, stair less homes or condos you get the idea. I’m doing what I can afford now rather than wait, so when I hit those golden years I can sit back, relax and enjoy them.
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Reply to Snowcat60
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Screennamed Oct 15, 2020
Diet is the most under-recognized factor in our lives, we've been programmed to rely on others for our "food," supply which has had catastrophic results.
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A lot of times dizziness has to do with changes in positions: getting up from bed, getting up from a chair... especially if you take blood pressure medications. The deal with blood measure medications is that they keep your heart from reacting as quickly to a need for a "push" of more blood to the brain during those moments. The best advice I can give (I am an RN), is to change positions slowly and have something to hold onto until the light-headedness passes. In the shower, you might want to consider getting a shower chair - the one with arms and a back - so you can comfortable sit while bathing. The plastic chairs are easier to keep clean and can easily be sprayed with your shower cleaner products. A handheld shower attachment makes it easier to rinse off - we've been using ones for decades (I'm in my 50's). Try to get one that allows you to "pause" the water flow while you are soaping up.

A lot of older people think they can bathe less often since they sweat less, but body microorganisms continue to grow and thrive on the skin. They need to be cleansed off regularly. Same goes for cleaning the hair. Use mild soaps or body washes DAILY (I use St. Ives Oatmeal with Shea) since they don't dry the skin out as much. Wash hair 2-3 times a week with mild shampoo and don't forget conditioner. After drying off, apply a mild body lotion to keep your skin soft and supple.

If you find you are having a lot of dizziness episodes, please consult your doctor. He/she can make sure your medications are not causing problems or address anything other condition that may be causing this.
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Reply to Taarna
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jacobsonbob Oct 15, 2020
Bathing every day is probably a bit excessive (unless you are engaged in activity that causes much perspiration or simply causes you to get dirty or have some issue with your skin). The skin has beneficial microflora and excessive bathing tends to remove essential oils, etc. In addition, daily bathing increases the opportunity for falls.

Care facilities typically only bathe the residents twice a week.
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