Aging In Place: A Guide
While it’s no secret that aging changes everyone, we do have final say on how we react to those changes. As people age, they tend to feel a stronger desire to keep the familiar close. Many seniors feel connected to the memories of where they raised their children and they often don’t want to leave the safety–and comfort their home brings.
When a senior chooses to live at home rather than move into an assisted living or skilled nursing facility, it’s known as “aging in place.” If you or an elderly loved one wants to live at home, you might find yourself wondering how to manage some of the inevitable physical, mental and emotional challenges that come with age.
Some of the changes may be subtle, yet usually include some of the following:
- Poor eyesight
- Reduced muscle mass (less strength)
- Becoming accident prone
- Reduced hearing ability
- Diminished mobility
- Decreased flexibility
These changes are inevitable, whether you experience them at 50 or after you are 80. Planning for your future residence with these factors in mind means you will be better prepared to combat any challenges that you or your loved one may face. Aging in place well means planning in advance for any possible future changes.
Aging in Place
In spite of the potential risks, the majority of seniors prefer to age in place in leu of assisted living. According to a 2018 survey published by AARP, 76% of adults aged 50 and older want to remain in their current homes as they age, and 77% indicated they would prefer to live in their communities, even if their own homes won’t meet their needs. If you have a senior in your life, chances are you’ve had some discussions about their desire to age in place.
Thankfully, today’s seniors have a number of resources available to help them age at home safely. Let’s discuss how to determine if aging in place is best for your loved one, and what programs, services and support Welcome Health can provide to help them continue living the life they want at home.
Things to Consider
Before you decide that aging in place is the right solution for you or your loved one, you must consider three main elements: the person, the home, and the support network available. Aging in place works best when all three of these factors are used to support the decision.
First, you must consider the person. Most people will indicate a desire to stay in their homes as they age, but sometimes seniors simply can’t do so safely. The home needs to meet the needs of an elderly person, be accessible if they require assistance, and be modest enough in size that they can take care of any daily necessities with the right support.
Finally, a strong support network is absolutely vital in providing aid and care when needed.
For many older adults, the desire to remain independent and at home may be present, but in the end, it just isn’t possible due to certain factors. While health issues alone may not prevent an adult from aging in place, they can make it far more difficult.
Here are some situations where aging in place may not be the right choice.
- You and other potential family caregivers live far away or work full-time.
- You or your loved one has a few friends in the community who can help.
- Narrow doorways and hallways in the home make mobility difficult.
- Being uncomfortable with having unknown paid caregivers in the home.
- Your family can’t afford to hire a caregiver.
Ultimately, if you’re the one in the role of the caregiver, and you feel that one of the three factors makes aging in place a bad idea for your loved one, it may be time to start considering possible alternatives.
Our clinicians make house calls. We bring primary care to you in the comfort of your own home, from annual sickness and wellness visits to diagnostic testing such as blood draws, x-rays, and ultrasounds. Believing that the best healthcare anchors around your priorities, we strive to understand your personal values, life goals, and health objectives, so that every healthcare decision is made within the context of what matters most to you and your family.
Most importantly, Welcome Health allows you or your loved ones the ability to age in place. We believe that all older people have earned the right to respectful, accessible, and convenient primary care. At Welcome Health, your priorities are the foundation of your healthcare.
We want to make it easy for you and your family to stay informed with the latest news. You can join your loved ones appointments through video conference or in person beside them at any time! Download our free information packet for more specific information on Welcome Health!