Ah, to grow old in the place you’ve lived for a long time. It’s a dream of many other seniors, too. To age at home is possible. You want to:
- maintain your independence
- Stay in the home you know, love, and built a life in (possibly even built the house, too!)
- And not be a burden on your family or loved one, turning them into a caregiver.
But it’s not always the easiest thing to do.
There’s maintaining your physical health to make sure you are healthy and fit as you age at home. And remodeling your current residence to handle decreased mobility (for instance, moving your bedroom downstairs, or adding a seat to your shower). Then, you’ll have to consider at home services, caregivers, and other medical considerations.
Doing your best to ensure you will be able to enjoy your later years, eating healthy, and exercising as much as you can. You are getting all the screenings and checkups that your doctor recommends and making sure that you have plans in place for any mishaps that might occur along the way.
This article will address just a few things that need consideration, only in case, you might have missed them.
Should You Move to a Community?
Of course, many who choose to age at home actually sell their current house (or move out). Where do they go?
NORCs or Naturally occurring retirement communities are becoming increasingly popular, mainly because they aren’t like the retirement villages of the past.
Beside’s where you live independently is you home, right?
They don’t just house seniors even though they are designed with seniors in mind. They are home to a diverse range of age groups. But they are popular with seniors due to the support and coordinated care that they have available.
This type of home allows residents to be independant, partake in a community of similar people, enjoy quality food and service, from trained and compassionate people, and more.
A community also may include things like:
- A cleaning service
- On-site medical care (great for staying out of typical doctor’s offices and avoiding ailments, like Covid-19)
- A place to keep learn via activities and classes
- Support from other independent people living there
- Transportation off property to common places (like the grocery store)
- Other mental health services (for things like therapy and grief support)
These are all fantastic benefits of moving into the right senior community.
Is It Possible to Age at Home in Your Current House?
Make a list
Create a detailed list of everything that you may need, consider the things that are most important to you now that might become less accessible as you are.
- home maintenance
- transportation (how will you get to work if you have a job)
- meal preparation (Do you have a service to deliver meals, make your own, a menu to call Grubhub?)
- dealing with finances
- paying bills
- and more
Asking your family and friends in advance to see if they can help, if not, you might need to consult local elder service providers.
Think of Personal Care
The biggest thing to help come up with items on your list is to think about your personal care. Life is doing things on a daily basis. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What day-to-day tasks need to go on your list?
- Which ones are hard to complete (and will get harder as you age at home)
- Can you find a way to get this done for you?
One of the biggest concerns for people who want to age at home is falling. These can lead to injuries and further health problems or in worst-case scenarios, even death. Doing exercises that are designed to improve strength and balance is a good idea.
People fall when doing mundane tasks each day. For instance, opening a door. As you age, this becomes difficult.
Take athritis, for example. The ability to open and close your hand is difficult and you need a better way to turn doorknobs. Multiple products exist to help this problem, including this one.
Other ways to prevent falls includes:
- Grab bars in areas where you have to get up and down (the bedroom and bathroom, for instance)
- Easy-to-read contact information of family and care staff
- Exercise regularly for mobility and flexibility
Prepare your home
Changing your bathroom, replacing doorknobs (or handles), and adding accessible doors, are just some of the things you can do to ensure your home is ready for your decision to age at home. An annual safety review will help you be prepared for this transition
Have an emergency plan
Do you have a schedule in place for people to check in on you regularly? Have a panic button installed in case you cannot reach the phone. Keep a cell phone on you at all times; one designed for the elderly is more desirable. Get your cellphone and home phone programmed to have emergency contacts on speed dial.
These are just some measures that can help you transition to aging safely at home. What is important is keeping an open mind and a willingness to ask for help.
Plan for Potential Care (in-home care and senior care)
Ok, to age at home is the dream. But sometimes dreams don’t last as long as we’d like. It’s possible, and depending on certain factors of aging it’s likely, you’ll need some help or additional care as you grow older.
Sure, caregivers can visit your home and help you live your life for a while. But at some point it’s very possible you’d need some more intensive care.
What should you do, in this case?
Have a plan. Do your research for facilities in your area. See how they help their clients. Figure out how you would pay for it. And other related issues. Having a plan isn’t giving up. Far from it.
It’s ensuring you can age at home as long as possible. Then, continue your life in the best possible scenario.