Aging in place is a term used to describe the ability of seniors to live in their own home or in the residence of their choice as they age.
In this Aging in Place Article:
As seniors begin to see a decline in their health or begin to lose their independence, important senior care decisions need to be made. Depending on the level of care required, it may be necessary to relocate the aging senior into an assisted living facility, nursing home or another type of senior housing facility where the senior can receive the proper level of care and medical attention needed. However, for some seniors, aging in place may be possible if proper senior care arrangements are made.
Aging in place is often the most preferred option of seniors today. Aging in place is suited for seniors who want to:
- Remain as independent as possible
- Stay in their own home or in the same place as they age.
More and more seniors want to age in place because they are concerned about losing their privacy and having to move to unfamiliar surroundings. According to the report generated by the American Association of Retired Persons, more than 80% of those 45 and over adults say that they want to age in place for as long as they are able to.
There are several important factors that need to be considered if your aging relative wants to age in place.
Factors to consider include finances, safety, level of independence and of course the senior’s overall health. A senior’s declining health does not necessarily mean that assisted living and nursing homes would be the only options. Aging in place may still be possible, depending on the senior’s medical needs.
It is important to assess the senior’s medical condition and the level of care the senior needs in order to determine whether or not aging at home would be the best option for the senior. If the senior’s health concerns can be managed appropriately with the assistance of an in-home caregiver, then staying in their home can be a viable option. It is important to note that there are different types of caregivers that can provide care services for seniors at home.
Seniors at home who do not require medical care and assistance, can hire caregivers to help them with activities of daily living such as eating, bathing, toileting, dressing, and minor household chores. Hiring a caregiver can help ensure the following:
- Senior’s needs are met consistently
- Senior is properly taken care of and monitored for signs of a decline in their health or a change in the level of care needed.
However, for those seniors who require medical assistance or need medical services, in-home nursing providers like skilled nursing care agencies should be contacted. In-home nursing care allows seniors to remain independent, well and safe while staying home. Generally, skilled nursing care is more expensive since a registered nurse supervises care.
If family members and friends live nearby, it may be possible to save money on caregiving services. Seniors are still able to age in place if they can help with:
- Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
- Transportation to medical appointments
- Grocery shopping
- Picking up prescriptions at the pharmacy,
- Clerical assistance, such as picking up and sorting mail, paying bills and scheduling appointments.
- Other non-medical needs
You may also want to check with senior centers in your area for volunteer programs that provide assistance to seniors. Most communities have volunteer programs that can help seniors stay home like: meal delivery, transportation services, regular in-home visits or helping out with household tasks and minor home repairs. Some of these volunteer programs provide services only to seniors who meet certain low-income requirements. Contact the senior centers in your area or the U.S Administration on aging as they can assist you in finding help in your community.
For a senior to be able to age in place safely, it may be necessary to make some minor or major changes to the senior’s home. Minor changes may include purchasing some low-cost additions, such as a shower bench, handheld showerhead, raised toilet seat, dressing aids and kitchen gadgets that make cooking easier. Ensuring that all the bulbs throughout the senior’s home are bright and that switches are accessible will definitely help as well.
Sometimes, aging in place may also require some major home renovations that range from installing a ramp or lift to a complete bathroom remodel with a walk-in bathtub and custom toilet with an electric lift seat. Home renovations can become very expensive so be sure to have all the available resources before renovating the senior’s home.
Helping a senior stay in his or her home as long as possible can be very challenging and may require a lot of work. However, since more and more seniors wish to age in place to retain their independence and privacy, it is well worth the effort so they can continue to live in familiar surroundings. With the proper senior care plan and safety considerations in place, you can help your senior loved one age in the comfort of their own home.
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About the Author: Catharine D. Allado is a Senior Care Expert and the COO of SeniorCareHomes.com – A trusted and comprehensive online directory of Senior Care Homes such as Assisted Living, Nursing Homes and other types of Senior Housing in California, Florida, New York, Arizona and the rest of the United States. SeniorCareHomes.com also provides FREE Assisted Living options to help seniors and families find the best Senior Housing on the planet!
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