If you’re like most older people, you want to age in place in your current home. That is, live in your home for as long as possible, even as you grow older and your needs change. But what does that mean, exactly? How do you make sure your home continues to work for you as you age?
Both older adults and their family members often ask me these types of questions, and my answer is always the same: “It depends“. Every situation is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for independent living.
My mom-in-law is 100 years of age and she lives in her own home, mostly independently. She does have some personal care services provided twice a week, mostly for house cleaning and helping her with grocery shopping.
But I also know 80 year olds who are unable to live on their own and have opted for community living and moved into an assisted living facility.
So yes, every person’s situation will be different depending on their health, their ability to take care of themselves, and whether or not they have family or friends nearby to help. There are certainly pros and cons of aging in place that everyone should be aware of.
But there are some general principles that can guide you as you and your family make decisions about how to best age in place.
The first principle is to start early. The best way to begin is to start early. It’s never too soon to start thinking about how you want to age in place. As you get older, your needs will change and it may become more difficult to make the home modifications that you may need.. By starting to think about your needs now, you can make sure your home is set up in a way that will work for you as you age.
The second principle is to be realistic about your abilities. The maturing years can bring many changes. It’s important to be realistic about your abilities as you age. Knowing your limitations can help you avoid injury and maintain your independence. (Yes, that means to stop climbing the ladder to clean your gutters!)
The third principle is to get the proper help when you need it. There’s no shame in admitting that you need help as you age. In fact, getting the help you need can be a vital part of aging in place successfully. There are many different types of support from area agencies available, so don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help when you need it.
The fourth principle is to make sure your home is safe and accessible. As we age, our homes can become more difficult to navigate. It’s important to make sure that your home is safe and accessible so that you can continue to live independently.
The fifth and final principle is to stay connected. Staying connected with friends, family, and your community can help you age in place successfully. A support system is extremely important, more than you may give it credit for. There are many ways to stay connected, so find what works best for you.
Aging in place doesn’t have to be difficult. By following these five principles, you can grow older in your home for as long as is possible, safely.
It also wouldn’t hurt to take some time now to speak to some professionals about your specific situation and how you can make your home grow older with you. I would recommend to speak to…
- geriatric care managers
- occupational therapists
- home health aide agencies
- certified aging in place specialist
- any local area agency that services older adults
- support groups and organizations (like AARP)
The challenges of natural aging can be different for everyone, but by being prepared and knowing what to expect, you can age in place successfully.
Table of Contents
Why Is Aging In Place Important?
For many seniors, the thought of leaving their home is a difficult one. After years of living in the same place and raising a family, the idea of moving to a retirement community, an assisted living facility or nursing home or just downsizing can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there is another option for seniors who want to stay in their homes: aging in place.
Aging in place simply means continuing to live in your own home as you age, with any necessary modifications or assistance. This can be a great option for seniors who want to maintain their independence and keep their familiar surroundings.
The goal of aging in place is to maintain the greatest possible independence. This means being able to live in your own home and having the ability to care for yourself. There are many ways to achieve this, but it starts with having a supportive network in place. Family, friends, and community members can all help you as you may need it.
4 Reasons Why Aging In Place Is Important
There are many reasons why aging in place is important. For one, it allows seniors to remain in control of their lives. They can make their own decisions about their care, and they don’t have to worry about being forced to move to a new location.
Another benefit is that it may be more cost-effective than moving to a retirement community or an assisted living facility or nursing home, or even just downsizing. Of course, each situation is different, so, you should look at what your expenses are to continue living in your home and compare.
Also, aging in place allows seniors to stay connected to their community. They can maintain social ties and participate in activities they enjoy. This can help them stave off loneliness and isolation, which are common among older adults.
Finally, aging in place can have a positive impact on seniors’ mental and emotional health. Seniors who are able to stay in their own homes often feel more independent and have a greater sense of control over their lives. This can lead to increased happiness and life satisfaction.
If you’re considering aging in place, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, it’s important to make sure your home is safe and accessible. This means removing any potential hazards, such as loose rugs or stairways without handrails.
You should also consider your finances. Depending on your specific situation and your house, it may cost your more (or less) to stay at home. This is especially true if you eventually need 24 hour care.
Finally, it’s important to talk to your loved ones about your plans. They may be able to provide support and assistance as you age in place.
How To Plan Ahead For Aging In Place
For many of us, the thought of aging in place – growing old in the comfort of our own homes – is a reassuring one. After all, what could be more comfortable than the place we’ve known and loved for so many years?
But as we age, our homes can become less comfortable, and even dangerous, if they’re not properly equipped to meet our changing needs. That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead for aging in place, whether that means making simple modifications to our homes now or preparing for a more significant change down the road.
For more information on this topic, let’s expand on the principles that I mentioned above.
Think About Your Needs Now And In The Future
As you plan to age in place at home. It’s important to consider what kind of support you’ll need as you age.
For example, if you live alone, you may want to think about how you’ll handle things like cooking and cleaning. If you have mobility issues, you’ll want to make sure your home is accessible. And if your health declines, you’ll want to be sure you have a plan in place for getting the care you need.
There are lots of resources and services available to help you plan for aging in place. Here’s just a few of what you can use…
- Home delivery from grocery stores in your area.
- Home monitoring devices for family caregivers who live far away.
- Prepared nutritious meals from companies such as Magic Kitchen, Silver Cuisine and others.
- Uber and Lyft for transportation services. Of course, there are some free options too.
- Medication delivery services from Amazon’s Pillpack program or your local drugstore.
- Home maintenance services from professionals at Thumbtack or Task Rabbit.
- Help for daily chores from local maid service companies.
There are many other types of delivery services as well that can help you with things like laundry, housekeeping, and more. The important thing is to plan ahead and know what services are available to you so that you can aging in place successfully.
If you live in a rural area, finding services to help you may be more difficult than if you lived in an urban or suburban area. This is when you may end up relying more on neighbors, friends and family members.
Make Your Home Safer
As an Occupational Therapist I worked hard to help my patients return to their homes. But before they could return, I had to ensure that it was as safe as possible for them. I liked my patients but I didn’t want to see them back in the hospital!
As we age, our risk for accidents and injuries at home increases. Simple changes around your home can help reduce your risk and make your home safer for aging in place.
- First, take a look at your flooring. Rugged carpeting or a throw rug can be a trip hazard, so consider switching to smooth flooring like hardwood or tile.
- Next, have a look at your lighting. Good lighting is important for safety, but also for avoiding falls. Make sure all areas of your home are well-lit, and consider installing night lights in hallways and bathrooms.
- Finally, take a look at your home’s layout. If you find yourself having to climb over furniture or maneuver around tight spaces, it may be time to make some changes. Creating a more open layout will help reduce your risk of falls and make your home more comfortable to live in.
Making these simple changes can go a long way in keeping you safe at home as you age. So take the time to assess your needs and make the changes that will work best for you. With a little bit of effort, you can make your home a safe and comfortable place to age in place.
Consider Your Living Arrangements
If you live in a multi-level home, can you easily move to a single-level residence if you need to? If you live in a rural area, is your home close to necessary medical care and other services? If you plan to “age in place,” think about how your house will need to change as your needs evolve.
For example, you may need to install double handrails, widen doorways, or add a first-floor bathroom. Or maybe a stair lift or in home elevator.
You should also consider your community when thinking about aging in place. Is it safe? Is there public transportation available if you can no longer drive? Are there social activities and support groups that can help you stay connected?
Making your home and community work for you as you age can help you maintain your independence and quality of life. But it’s important to start planning now so that you can make the most of your later years.
If you’re not sure where to start, talk to your doctor, a social worker, or an aging services provider. They can help you assess your needs and make a plan for the future.
Stay Active And Social
There are many things you can do to stay active and social as you age. Taking part in activities that keep you physically active can help you stay healthy and independent. Doing things that make you mentally active, such as reading, playing games, or attending cultural events, can help keep your mind sharp.
Staying socially connected with family and friends can also help improve your mental and emotional well-being.
There are many different ways to stay active and social. You can join a gym or take up a new sport. You can visit friends and family, or make new friends through social activities. You can also volunteer your time to help others, which can be both rewarding and good for your health.
Whatever you do, the important thing is to keep moving and stay connected. Doing so will help you age in place and be healthy for many years to come.
Get Regular Checkups
It’s important to see your doctor for regular checkups, even if you feel healthy. Your doctor can help you stay on top of your health and catch any medical problems early.
Eat a Healthy Diet
What you eat has a big impact on your health. Eating a healthy diet helps you maintain a healthy weight, have more energy, and help to avoid certain diseases.
Exercise is important for your physical and mental health. It can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, and boost your mood. Even if you have limited mobility, exercise can help. Consult with your doctor and a physical therapist.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is essential for good health. Getting enough sleep helps you maintain a healthy weight, reduces stress, and boosts your mood.
Stress can have a negative impact on your health. Learning to manage stress can help you maintain a healthy weight, have more energy, and avoid diseases.
By making healthy choices, you can improve your overall health and well-being. And all of this can help you stay in your home longer.
Manage Your Medications
It’s of utmost importance to follow your health care provider’s instructions for taking your medications. This includes when to take them, how often to take them, and whether or not to take them with food.
It’s also important to know what side effects to expect and how to manage them. If you have any questions about your medications, be sure to ask your health care provider or talk to your pharmacist.
It’s also important to store your medications safely and out of reach of children. Be sure to keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. And if you have any leftover medication, be sure to dispose of it properly.
Be Prepared For Emergencies
No one knows when an emergency might strike, so it’s important to be prepared for any eventuality. Make sure you have a well-stocked first-aid kit in your home and know how to use it. Keep an eye on your health and stay as fit as possible – this will help you weather any crisis that comes your way.
And finally, don’t forget to have a plan in place for what you’ll do if an emergency strikes. Knowing ahead of time what you need to do will help you stay calm and focused if the unexpected happens.
With a little preparation, you can age in place safely and confidently, no matter what comes your way.
Get Help When You Need It
There may come a time when you need a little extra help to age in place safely and comfortably. That’s perfectly normal, and there’s no shame in admitting that you need some assistance.
Whether it’s hiring a home care worker to help with chores and errands or moving into an assisted living facility, getting the help you need can make a big difference in your quality of life as you age.
Professional home caregivers provide an invaluable service to those who are unable to care for themselves. Without the help of these dedicated individuals, many people would be forced to go without the basic necessities of life.
Home caregivers often work long hours and do not receive nearly enough credit for the vital role they play in society.
Also, familiarize yourself with what Medicare and Medicaid will pay for and what they don’t. You may be very surprised! Be aware of Medicaid waivers (it’s different in every state in the United States). You may be eligible for funds or services that you are not aware of.
Is Aging In Place A Good Idea?
There’s no one answer to this question – it depends on each person’s individual circumstances. Some older adults find that aging in place (i.e. staying in their own home as they age, with the necessary support and assistance) is the best option for them. Others may prefer to move into a retirement community or nursing home, where they can receive more hands-on care.
There are pros and cons to both aging in place and moving into a retirement community or nursing home.
One of the biggest challenges of aging in place is that it can be difficult to maintain your independence as you age and your physical and cognitive abilities start to decline. This is why it’s important to have a support network in place, whether that’s family, friends, or professional caregivers.
Another challenge of aging in place is keeping up with the maintenance of your home. As you age, it can become more difficult to keep up with things like yard work, home repairs, and cleaning. This can be especially challenging if you live alone.
Aging in place can also be isolating. If you don’t have a support network in place, it can be easy to feel isolated and alone. This is why it’s important to find ways to stay connected to your community, whether that’s through volunteering, attending social events, or joining an seniors’ club.
What Is The Most Important Aspect Of Aging In Place?
The most important aspect of aging in place is making sure you have the proper help and tools you may need as you grow older. This could include things like in-home care services, equipment to make your home more accessible or ways to stay connected with family and friends.
No matter what aging in place looks like for you, the goal is to maintain your independence and quality of life. And with a little planning, it’s definitely possible.
How Can We Help The Elderly At Home?
There are many ways to help the elderly at home. One way is to offer them a helping hand with some of their chores or tasks that have become difficult for them to do on their own.
Another way to help is by providing companionship and social interaction. This can be done by visiting with them regularly, taking them out for outings, or even just sitting and chatting with them.
One thing that I do is to send out a text every morning to a group of friends, some of whom are elderly. If I don’t hear back from them within the hour I either call or go to their home to check up on them.
Many times, the elderly just need someone to talk to and feel connected to. By being there for them, we can help make their lives more enjoyable and fulfilling.
What Are Some Promising Solutions To Aging In Place?
Today, more and more people are choosing to age in place. This decision is often made for financial reasons as well as emotional reasons.
There are a number of solutions that can help seniors age in place safely and comfortably. One promising solution is telehealth, which uses technology to remotely monitor seniors’ health and well-being.
Telehealth services (online doctors) can help seniors manage their chronic conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. Online doctors can also provide mental health support and counseling.
Home Care Services
Home care solutions can provide seniors with the help they need with activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, and eating. In-home care can also include companionship services, which can provide seniors with much-needed social interaction and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
As the population ages, there are more and more companies providing in-home care services to meet their clients’ needs.
Technology For Seniors
Technology can also help seniors stay connected with loved ones who live far away. Video calling platforms like Skype and FaceTime make it possible to have face-to-face conversations, even if you’re not in the same room.
Other technology services can include features like fall detection, which can automatically notify caregivers if a senior has taken a fall, as well as medication reminders and fitness tracking.
Smart speakers such as Alexa and it’s Echo Show device. Google Home and Google Hub are also excellent aging in care tools! They can help with things like reading a canned food label, to getting news and weather updates, to turning on the lights via a smart plug.
Does Echo Dot have a camera? Learn more here.
Adaptive equipment can also be a big help for seniors who want to age in place. For example, grab bars in the shower can help prevent falls, and raised toilet seats can make it easier for people with mobility issues.
When aging in place, it’s important to be aware of the different types of assistance that are available and to seek out help when needed. By doing so, you can maintain your independence and live a fulfilling life in your own home.
What Is The Biggest Challenge To Older Adults?
There’s no denying that getting older comes with its fair share of challenges. From declining physical health to increasing social isolation, the golden years can sometimes feel more like a burden than a blessing.
But what is the biggest challenge facing older adults today? According to a recent survey, it’s loneliness.
The AARP’s 2018 Loneliness Study found that nearly 1 in 3 adults over the age of 45 report feeling lonely. That’s a staggering statistic, especially when you consider the fact that loneliness can have serious negative consequences on health.
So why are so many older adults feeling lonely? There are a number of factors at play.
For one, baby boomers are the first generation to face the reality of living longer lives. With advances in medicine and healthcare, people are living longer than ever before. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re living healthier lives.
Many baby boomers are dealing with chronic health conditions that prevent them from being as active as they once were. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Older adults are also more likely to be living alone. According to the Pew Research Center, there are approximately 12 million seniors over the age of 65 living alone in the United States. This is a significant increase from previous generations.
There are a number of reasons why older adults may find themselves living alone. Some may be widowed or divorced. Others may have never married or had children. And still others may simply prefer to live alone.
Another one of the biggest challenges for older adults is staying healthy. As we age, our bodies become less able to fight off disease and illness. This is why it’s so important to get regular checkups and screenings. It’s also important to eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise.
Another big challenge for older adults is staying financially secure. This can be a challenge if you’re on a fixed income or if you don’t have a retirement plan.
Finally, one of the biggest challenges for older adults is simply staying connected to family and friends. It’s important to stay in touch with loved ones, especially as we age. There are a number of ways to stay connected, including social media, phone calls, and even in-person visits.
No matter what challenges you face as you age, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are plenty of resources and support systems available to help you through whatever you’re facing. So don’t hesitate to reach out for help when you need it. With the right support, you can overcome any challenge.