Aging in Place—Because There’s No Place Like Home

  • Aug - 10 - 2020
  • Elixair Medical

Elderly woman on sofa holding caneWhen an elderly family member begins to struggle to care for themselves, or if they experience an accident in their home, many people seem to believe that the next necessary step is a nursing home or other care facility. But in recent years, as personal medical equipment and mobility devices have become more affordable and more accessible, aging in place has become a more viable option for many. Most people would prefer to stay in their own homes rather than giving it up for an unfamiliar facility. Of course, it’s not possible for everyone. But, with the right tools and the proper support, many aging adults can stay right where they are, in the comfort of their own homes, for many years to come. Here’s how.

What Does It Take to Age in Place?

As we’ve already mentioned, aging in place isn’t possible for everyone. When deciding whether or not it’s a possibility for you or your loved one, it’s important to consider 3 major factors:

  1. The person – Their finances, medical needs, mental health, etc.
  2. The place – The accessibility of their home, or ability to modify it to make it safe and accessible
  3. The support network – Family, friends, and community members that can help when needed

Aging in place is generally a good option for those who have made preparations for it, who have the financial means to obtain necessary in-home care, whose homes can easily be adapted for accessibility purposes, and who have a reliable support network nearby.

Establishing In-Home Care

If you’re considering a care facility for yourself or a family member, odds are that there has been some trouble with tending to daily needs and self-care. Depending on just how much assistance you need, it may be wise to hire professional in-home care to help with various tasks. There are different levels of care available for in-home services, from in-depth medical care to simple companionship and assistance with household chores.

Alternatively, friends and family members may be able to provide some basic care for the aging loved one, including assisting with housework, meal preparation, daily medications, transportation, and personal hygiene needs. This is where the support network is essential. Even with professional care, friends and family are often relied upon to fill the gaps, and help to bolster the person’s quality of life.

Ensuring Safety and Quality of Life

For those planning to age in place, it’s important that you can ensure the same safety and quality of life that a care facility would provide to its residents. As far as safety goes, this may require some modifications to the person’s household to make it more accessible to their changing needs. Some primary modifications to look for include:

  • Safety rails and grab handles in accident-prone areas, such as near the bath and shower, or beside the toilet.
  • Other accessibility upgrades in the bathroom, like walk-in tubs and showers.
  • A lift chair on the staircase.
  • Hallways and doorways wide enough to accommodate the movement of a wheelchair and/or walker.
  • Ramps over short sets of stairs (e.g., porch steps).
  • Accessible shelving, especially in the kitchen.
  • Anti-slip mats or non-slip backing under rugs.
  • Plenty of bright, glare-free lighting throughout the home.

In addition to these modifications, your loved one may need certain medical equipment to assist with various conditions and ailments. Thanks to modern technology, this kind of equipment is no longer limited to medical care facilities and hospitals; now, many types of medical equipment can be purchased or even rented for home use. Depending on your loved one’s needs, you might consider getting a mobility device like a wheelchair or scooter; respiratory equipment such as portable oxygen, nebulizers, or oximeters; or even a hospital bed to make it easier for them to get in and out of bed unassisted.

While this may all sound like a lot, keep in mind that your loved one won’t necessarily need all of these items. You’ll need to assess what their needs are to determine if proper accommodations can be made for them to continue living at home.

Enjoying the Comforts of Home

If your loved one needs basic care, don’t rush to the decision to put them into a care facility. Many elderly family members benefit from continuing to live in a familiar environment, surrounded by comforting memories. With careful consideration, planning, and the right support, odds are high that your loved one can age in place with few complications.

If you’re looking for medical equipment and accessibility upgrades to help your loved one stay in their home, reach out to us. We’re happy to help you in any way we can. Because, when it comes to living comfortably and happily in your later year, there’s really no place like home.