Often, people’s views differ on the delicate topic of aging in place. The most common dilemma is whether it’s better suited for your elderly parents to age in place or shift to a senior care facility. Seniors have emotional reasons to continue living in the house they love and engage with the community they are familiar with. Living in their own homes also makes them feel more independent and happier. Children, however, tend to be wary of older parents staying by themselves. Sometimes, even the elderly spouses don’t seem to agree on this topic.
However, there is a growing trend of older adults wanting to age in place. A recent study revealed that about 90% of seniors expressed a desire to stay in their current homes. Out of them, 85% are confident that they can manage without any significant home modifications.
Consider the Dynamics
However, before making a decision, it is important to think through the different aspects that would affect the daily lives of the elderly while aging in place, such as:
A lot depends on how good their health is and if they can do their daily tasks like bathing, dressing, eating, doing small household chores, and stepping out without assistance. Also, as and when the need arises, how quickly and easily would it be possible for a family member or caretaker to step in and help them out.
You can check if the seniors’ house is still suitable for their changing physical abilities. If not, consider modifying their home to make it easier for them to continue with their daily lives at home safely and effortlessly.
The Support System
For the elderly to age in place worry-free, essentials must be conveniently available. From transportation facilities, grocery stores, and medical help, if the key basics are in close vicinity, it adds to their confidence. On the other hand, a good circle of friends, relatives, and neighbors provides strong moral support for them.
As no two older adults or their circumstances are the same, it is imperative to handle this situation with a balance of practicality and sensitivity.
10 Tips to Effectively Age in Place
It may seem like a difficult choice to make, but these simple tips will bring a lot of clarity while arriving at the decision of aging in place.
Have a Family Meeting
The first step is to have family members come to a consensus. It is best for close members to discuss and agree on the idea of aging in place. Later on, family members should regularly take care and check in on their senior loved ones to ensure they have no difficulties while staying at home.
Get an Expert Opinion
Consult a doctor to know if their physical and mental health permits them to live at home. It would be advisable to fix regular check-up appointments to watch over their health and notice any arising health concerns.
Maintain a Routine
Advancing age ushers in more unpredictability in people’s lives, as they gradually lose control over their abilities. This is quite stressful for them. If you structure their daily life in a routine, it reduces their anxiety, makes them feel more secure, and improves their sleep. As a part of their daily routine, elders should engage in light physical activities like walking to refresh their minds and keep them physically fit.
Contact an Area Agency on Aging
It is a good idea to get in touch with the local Area Agency on Aging, as they help arrange for services that make it easier for older adults to stay in their homes. Be it meals-on-wheels, house help, or any other service required, the agency offers a range of options from which seniors can choose.
Make Modifications to the Home
The home where seniors and their loved ones have lived comfortably for years may need some upgrades and changes to ensure their safety and convenience. Rearrange furniture and essential things in the house to enable easy access for them. Introduce mobility aids like a walking cane, walker, or stairlift to facilitate their movement around the house. A bedside step stool can be of great help too, as it makes getting in and out of bed easy for them, and they needn’t worry about slipping or falling.
Engage in Joyful Activities
When seniors choose to age in place, they need to take care of their well-being by indulging in mood-boosting activities. As per their liking, they can involve themselves in gardening, cooking, reading, or join walking, exercising, or laughter clubs. In addition, they should socialize as often as possible to avoid feeling lonely.
Review Transportation Facilities
Seniors living independently need to step out to buy daily supplies, attend doctor’s appointments, or meet friends. To ensure they get to the place and back home safely, choose a transportation facility that you can trust and is convenient for them.
Discuss the Finances
Finances are private and a tricky topic of discussion. However, it’s essential to have a candid conversation with older parents about their financial abilities to age in place. In addition, it helps to plan better for their future and recurring costs of health care, home modifications, and daily activities.
Staying independently in the silver years is a happy occurrence for many seniors, and they manage very well. However, one needs to keep checking on them at regular intervals and assess the situation jointly with them to know if they need any assistance or if a change of plan is necessary.
Have a Contingency Plan
Increasing age can bring a lot of unpleasant surprises. But, with a contingency plan in place, you are well prepared to face them, whether it’s a sudden health scare or a financial need.
Challenges of Aging in Place
Aging in place has its own set of challenges. Seniors might face difficulties with;
Safety While Moving Around
Seniors may find it difficult to move about the house, bathroom, and in the neighbourhood. Falls are common among the elderly, and there is always a great concern about them getting injured, especially in wet and slippery areas like the bathroom. You can address this concern by providing them with the right mobility devices and assistance in the bedroom, bathroom, and other areas of the house.
Access at Home
Faced with increasing physical limitations, seniors may find it difficult to access things at home like they once could. However, simple modifications around the house can bring a lot of ease into their daily lives.
Doing Daily Tasks
Health issues may restrain the elderly from going about their daily tasks in an efficient way. However, a little assistance from family members or bringing in a home assistant could make a lot of difference.
It’s very natural for the elderly to start feeling lonely, impacting their mental health and working against them. Therefore, ensure that they engage in activities that infuse joy in their lives and encourage them to socialize regularly.
While aging in place may pose certain challenges, a little planning is all it takes to overcome them. It can be a delightful and fulfilling experience for older adults as they free themselves from life’s responsibilities and engage in the things they love to do.