If you ask the majority of people over the age of 65, they would probably tell you that they wish to remain at home and living independently, even if it means being alone.

According to the Pew Research Center, 12 million Americans over the age of 65 live alone. Of course, as we all know, living independently has it perks—staying in the comfort of your home with all its amenities and maintaining your privacy, while continuing to do the things you want and love to do are all significant motivators for wanting to age in place.

Unfortunately, as we age, our visual acuity, balance and perceptual abilities may become compromised—the aches, pains and other ailments that ultimately affects our mobility and ease of getting around can greatly determine our independent future.

Therefore, protecting yourself from the risks of living alone cannot be underestimated. If you are one of the 12 million, over age 65 who lives alone, have a serious conversation with yourself—do you suffer from a chronic condition(s) and pain that can affect the safety of your daily living? What happens if you have an emergency? Are you well prepared? Do you have the appropriate and suitable tools in place in the event of an emergency? These questions should and need to be honestly evaluated and answered—it can make the difference between staying independent or losing your independence.

Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau report that, nearly 40 percent of people age 65 and older has at least one disability. Of those 15.7 million people, two thirds of them say they have difficulty in walking or climbing; this could be due to an ankle or lower leg injury or perhaps knee or hip problems. Additionally, the tasks of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, toileting, or transferring oneself from the bed, chair, or sofa to a standing position, can all be quite difficult and challenging.

When it comes to chronic pain and conditions that affects your mobility, it is important not to undervalue the wear and tear it will have on you, both emotionally and physically, especially if you are living alone.

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