“Aging in Place” is a phrase associated with older Americans who wish to stay in their homes for as long as they’re able to.
And according to an AARP 2015 survey, nearly 90% of respondents indicated a desire to do exactly that.
Yet hardly anyone has developed a plan for how. Until now…
Last week, we covered the first 3 steps to Aging in Place: Weighing the finances, maintaining social connections, and identifying the people who will help you when you need it.
Here are 3 more to round out the complete Aging in Place action plan…
Aging in Place Step #4: Planning the Transition
People often reach a point where they could stay in their homes with a little help with tasks such as cleaning, preparing meals, or other homemaking chores.
Declining vision, aching joints, or other physical issues might make it difficult to deal with mail, pay bills, read, or even safely go for a walk.
In many areas there are services, known generally as homemaking or companion services, to help with these tasks for a fee.
They also can help remind people to take medication, go to appointments and do similar tasks.
You also might be able to have a home health aide, or visiting nurse, provide medical care or attention when needed, so you can stay in the home.
Assess the availability of these services in your area and how much they cost. Hiring these services in your home can be an alternative to moving, provided you also can maintain social connections.
Aging in Place Step #5: Prepare Your Home
After determining that staying in your home is a good idea, be sure the home will accommodate your needs as you age.
You need to make any modifications before you need them in order to reduce the chances of an accident, or if you won’t be able to arrange the modifications in a few years.
Our bodies change as we age, and our homes need to change. Reduced vision (especially in the dark), less mobility and joint problems, such as arthritis, can be less of a problem when a home is modified for them.
Some changes to the home are easy and fairly inexpensive.
Some homes aren’t suitable for an aging person without significant changes.
Sometimes, an elevator should be installed, or the main floor should be modified to include the master bedroom.
Not everything required for a home to accommodate aging in place is obvious.
A good source of ideas for modifying a home include the National Association of Home Builders (which can refer you to Certified Aging in Place Specialists) and AARP.
Aging in Place Step #6: Review and Update
Your personal situation will change.
Your home will change.
And the services available to you will change.
You, and people you can trust and rely on, should review these factors regularly and assess whether aging in place remains the best solution for you.