If you have a senior family member who struggles with their own care, you’re likely considering having that dreaded discussion with them—the possibility of having them live at a care facility instead of at home. For many families, this is the first thing that comes to mind when it becomes clear that an elderly loved one is struggling. But in reality, moving your family member to a care facility may not actually be what’s best for them. Aging in place, in the comfort of their own home, can improve quality of life for many senior citizens, provided they have a safe environment and the necessary support to do so. Here are just a few ways aging in place can improve your loved one’s quality of life.
Familiar Setting and Comfortable Routines
For many senior citizens, they’ve been living in the same home, going about their typical routines every day for decades. Moving them to a care facility that has pre-established routines they must adapt to can be incredibly difficult. Such a move can induce a lot of stress.
Additionally, your family member likely has a very deep emotional attachment to their home. That house holds countless memories and provides a sense of comfort and familiarity. Leaving that place behind can create intense feelings of homesickness and an incredible sense of loss. For some, these difficult feelings can even lead to depression and other mental and emotional health issues.
Lowers Risk of Illness
You’re likely considering a care facility for your loved one because you believe such a facility will be healthier and safer. However, you might be surprised to learn that that’s not necessarily the case. In addition to the possibility of depression and other mental and emotional health problems mentioned above, such issues can also accelerate physical and cognitive decline. In fact, seniors in care facilities quite often have worse health outcomes than those who age in place.
Another major health consideration is the risk of infection. Any group setting presents the possibility of bacterial and viral infections. After the devastation COVID-19 caused in care facilities around the world in 2020, this is something to seriously consider. While care facilities obviously do their absolute best to maintain cleanliness and prevent the spread of illness, having a large number of seniors citizens living in one building, gathering in common areas, and doing activities together will always present a risk for spreading disease.
Maintaining Their Independence
Losing the ability to care for yourself on your own can be incredibly difficult to face. It’s difficult enough for your loved one to accept that they might need help with their household chores; asking them to give up their independence entirely to live in a care facility can be devastating to some. When seniors are able to age in place, they can maintain more control over their personal lives. Their routines, activities, and diet are still within their control.
Of course, if you’re considering a care facility at all, it’s unlikely that your loved one can maintain complete independence, even if they can stay in their own home. They may require assistance with certain household tasks, need transportation to the store and appointments, or their home may need to be upgraded with accessibility features to help them maintain more independent mobility.
When considering a care facility, cost should always be a consideration. Whether the expense will come from your loved one’s estate or you and other family members will have to fund their care, it’s important to minimize those expenses where you can without sacrificing quality of care. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities can cost $20,000 or more per year. These costs are often much higher for facilities with more amenities, or when your loved one needs specialized care.
While aging in place does come with a price tag, that price is typically much lower. Making accessibility upgrades are a one-time investment that will last through your loved one’s lifetime. And if in-home care is required, it is typically only for a few hours a week, which is much less than around-the-clock care in a facility.
Above all, odds are high that your loved one wants to stay in their own home. According to a survey from AARP, that’s what 90% of senior adults in the country prefer. While there are situations where a care facility will be far better for all involved, aging in place is likely more doable than you might think. Elixair Medical provides many products and mobility aids to help make it even easier. Check out our products page to see how we can help.