The Top Four Needs of Seniors

By Kerry Knight

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Ever wonder what your top four needs should be as you get older?   

As seniors, we’ve seen a lot in our lives. As the world as it moved from the Industrial Age to the Information Age across the new millennium, we witnessed it in real-time.  Both the good and the bad.  Some of us were fortunate to be able to acquire valued belongings, some of us were able to travel a bit, and maybe, some of us had the chance to really enjoy our families. 

As we age, our “needs” list change somewhat.  For example, when we are in our late teens and early 20s, getting a good education is a vital concern.  The next ten years require that we find a good-paying job or a promising career.  This would also be the time for purchasing our first home.  Our 30s and 40s are the earning years, when we should be putting money away and investing wisely.  In our 50s, we should be thinking about retirement and putting the final touches on planning for our “Golden Years.”  Then come the retirement years.  

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Now, everything changes.

If you have planned well, you can enjoy some rest and relaxation.  No more punching a clock or running a business.  You can slow down and enjoy retirement.  Obviously, with money, life always seems to be a little easier to manage. But, whether you have planned perfectly or not, there are certain needs that you’ll have as you reach the “Golden Years.”

Number one is Companionship.  If you’ve been happily married for many years and still have your lifelong companion, this can be a great time.  Many who are just reaching their retirement years want to travel.  They want to see the world they were deprived of visiting while they were busy making a living. 
However, health issues can soon slow down the travel arrangements ― any retirement plans really ― and may require rethinking how you will spend those special years.  Health problems may require needed assistance from your companion.  

But what if you don’t have a companion?  There are in-home services that can offer help with everything from meal preparation to companionship.  Usually their services are offered during regular business hours.  If nighttime assistance is needed, the cost can add up.  Moving in with your family may be an option, as long as there is someone in the family that has the time, willingness and/or ability to help.  If not, assisted living facilities are available.  They provide housing, meals, assistance with medications, transportation and companionship.  These can be costly, but it’s a possible option.  One of the advantages of assisted living is the ability to be with other residents, create friendships, and have projects that you can enjoy doing together.

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The second need that seniors will require is Transportation.  If you’ve reached a point where you can no longer drive, transportation becomes critical.  Crucial errands such going to the grocery store and pharmacy suddenly become a real challenge.  Same with going to scheduled doctors’ appointments or other health-oriented events (exercise sessions at the gym, etc.).  Who can help with that?  There are some stores that offer free delivery.  If not, some non-profit groups offer transportation.  If you have some form of assisted living, they can also take care of transportation needs.  In many cases, family or friends can help with this, too. However, some transportation issues are more oriented towards rest and relaxation.  It may be that you just need to get out of the house to take a drive, for your own mental well-being. 

The third need is a New Challenge. Whether we are eight or 80, we never outgrow our need for a new challenge.   Even in our retirement years, we need to seek out challenges for our mind and body.  It might be starting some fitness program, developing a new hobby, or getting more into reading.  Keeping the mind challenged and busy is another way to ward off things like dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.  Challenge yourself!

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Number four is Making Your Environment Safe to Live in.  Whether you live in your own home or an assisted living facility, making your location safer becomes more and more important as you age.  One third of those aged 65 or older will fall each year.  At age 80, that percentage increases to 50% of us.  And of that number, once having fallen, these people are two to three times more likely to fall again.  Falling is significant because it almost always leads to broken bones, such as fractured hips, which could reduce mobility and permanently hamper one’s lifestyle.  Worse yet, a head injury can lead to more serious problems such as brain trauma or even death (read our previous blogs, “The Danger of Bathtubs – Falling is a Family Matter,” and “How Seniors Can Protect Themselves from Falling.”) 

Why are seniors prone to falling?  There are several reasons.  It may be because of prescribed medications.  It could be because of loss of balance due to lightheadedness.  It can also stem from being unfit.  This is why exercise, even in our senior years, is so important.  Falls can also occur simply because precautions have not been taken to make the house safe.  Slippery floors, thrown rugs and clutter doesn’t help.  

One area that requires special attention is the bathroom.  It’s is the number one area where harmful falls can take place.  Why not add several grab bars in the bathroom, especially around the toilet and the tub?  

Many seniors (and/or their caring families) are seeing the need for a Walk-in Tub.  These specialized bathtubs offer a soaking and sit down shower option that’s free of the risks taken with normal bathing.  They fit in the spot where a normal bathtub is located.  They offer a water-tight door that can be easily opened and closed by the occupant.  The door’s low threshold makes entering and exiting the tub easy.  Once the door is closed and locked, the tub can be filled with warm water that covers the back.  A hand-held shower wane allows them to shower while sitting.  Therapeutic air and water jets can be added to relax the body and help heal problem areas.   

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Another great thing about Walk-in Tubs is they this allow the senior to bathe independently and in private.  This is tremendous for one’s self-esteem.  And all this is done without the fear or risk of falling.  Not surprisingly, many who have just reached retirement age and are still in good health are installing Walk-in Tubs as they plan for the future.

Another option for seniors is the Safety Suite Shower. These can be configured as Low-Threshold or Zero-Threshold designs. Each model has a built-in seat, in a variety of different configurations (i.e., fold-down, built-in, etc.), which can be topped with slip-resistant acrylic surface or a Brazilian Walnut seat top.  

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These handsome showers can be customized to meet each individual’s situation. For example, in the Zero-Threshold models, the shower can be right- or left-side oriented (in terms of where the seat and hand-held water sprayer are configured). In the Zero-Threshold models, the hand-held shower wand and controls can be situated on the left, center or right.   Even the drain can be placed in different locations to facilitate installation and plumbing issues. Both designs feature safety wall grips and handrails, even atop the temperature control.  Optional accessories include a bathroom paper roll, towel rack and shelf, all of which have built-in safety grips.  

Whatever your age, it’s not too early to think about what lies ahead.  Planning and preparation will make life a little easier down the road.  Take the time to think about these four needs.  Set aside some time to discuss these issues with family and friends. Once you have determined what your needs and goals, put your plan in writing and then begin implementing your plan one item at a time.

In this article, I discussed the top four needs of seniors, especially as they reach retirement. I outlined the details on each need and discussed how seniors can pragmatically address and accommodate these needs. If you found this article useful, please share it with your friends and co-workers. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the Comment section of this blog.  

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If you’d like to receive a FREE Walk-In Tub Buyers’Guide, click here.  Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and I’ll personally get back to you. It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.

Thanks again for visiting with us.

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Alan and Kerry Knight are the owners of Tub King, Inc., and  in Jacksonville, Florida. Together they have many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. Their companies not only provide superior products, they are also award winners, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. If you’d like to contact them, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or send an email to

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