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Planning Your Home for Senior Comfort
Aging in place is the most common way seniors prefer to age. It means aging in a place of your choosing rather than being forced to accept care in a facility. However, it can be tough to age in place as health concerns limit mobility and cause other challenges. Planning your home for senior comfort is a crucial part of making sure that you and your loved ones have the ability to honor your wishes and let you stay in your home as you grow older.
There are many resources in place that can help you age in place. Not only are there both small and major renovations you can make to your home, but there are a wide variety of care services that will come to your home and help out if your family is too far away to care for you.
Is Aging in Place Right for You
All emotion aside, it’s up to you and your family to determine if aging in place is the right decision for you. It’s important to remember to be honest to yourself and with your family about your wants, your expectations, and what you can reasonably expect to be able to do. Generally, there are three important factors that must be considered when deciding if it is right for you or a loved one to age in place:
- The Person
- Their Home
- The Support Network
When it comes to the person, you need to be able to safely remain in your home. Honesty is very important here as you ask these questions:
- Can you do your regular daily activities safely?
- Are you willing to ask for assistance or seek assistance as needed?
- Are you able to properly manage and monitor medications without forgetting instructions and dosages?
Evaluating the home is next. Are you safe in your home? If you were to fall, would you be able to quickly get assistance? Can your home be modified to provide as much protection as possible? Is your home too large for one person?
Lastly, there must be a support network in place. This support network can be family or it can be access to services such as senior support, public transportation, and meal services.
Communicating Your Senior Comfort Needs
I cannot over-state the importance of honesty in this process. A few years ago we were forced to move my grandmother out of her home because she would not be honest with herself about the level of care and assistance she needed. Though she claimed she could not walk she insisted on driving herself to lunch every day. She insisted on driving herself to the hospital when she broke her wrist because she was upset that family didn’t call and visit as often as she felt they should.
This lack of honesty both in evaluating her capabilities and with her expectations led to the difficult decision to move her out of her home and in with my aunt and uncle. Now she has deteriorated to the point that we have had to place her in care and she continues to honestly assess where she is making the process very difficult for all those involved.
It is important to note that aging in place doesn’t have to mean remaining where you are. Instead, it is being able to age in a place of your choosing. After honest evaluation, you may come to realize that staying in your home as it is now is not the right decision for you. That’s okay. There are still many ways you can enjoy maintaining your independence by making some adjustments to where you age.
Finding Care that Meets Your Senior Comfort Wants
Adjusting your aging-in-place plan doesn’t have to be super difficult. If the family is unable to provide care there are many in-home care services that you can reach out to for assistance. And there is help in covering the costs as well. There are also adult day care programs that provide a location where you can take a loved one while you are at work and then you can pick them up on your way home.
Check out these resources for more information:
If you need help getting healthy, nutritious meals there are many different programs – the most popular of which is Meals on Wheels. These are especially accessible to home-bound and low-income seniors. Reach out to your local Area Agency on Aging – https://www.n4a.org/
And for transportation needs there are a number of public transportation options but also 3rd Party groups like Uber, Lyft, Go Go Grandparent. These companies have services especially for adults and disabled folks that may work perfectly. In addition, you can check with local charities to see what other options are available in your community.
Modifying Your Aging in Place Homestead
There are a number of both small and large modifications that should be considered when evaluating your home for aging in place such as:
- Stairlifts for homes with multiple floors
- Walk-in Tubs and Showers
- Smart Home Technology
- Emergency Response Systems
- Wearable Items
- Access to Telemedicine
- Medication Reminders
- Anti-slip Mats
- Handrails and Bars
- Increased Lighting
- Special Knobs and Window Pulls
- Accessible Shelving
- Lift Chairs
Any or all of these modifications may be needed in your home in order to ensure that you can live safely.