Aging in place is an excellent option to allow senior citizens to maintain independence and spend the later years of their life in the comfort of their own home. But how do you know if it’s the right option for your senior loved one? Aging in place has its pros and cons, and it’s certainly not the best choice for everyone. Keep reading to learn a few questions you should ask yourself when deciding whether or not aging in place is the right choice for your family member.
One of the major things you need to consider is your family member’s physical limitations. Just how much are they capable of doing on their own? Is it feasible, with their current limitations, for them to live alone? If they lose more of their mobility, at what point would you consider it impossible for them to continue aging in place? It’s important to think about their current situation as well as the future, so that you have a clear plan in place, should circumstances change.
Not all mobility issues immediately eliminate the option to age in place. There are many home modifications available that can accommodate those with reduced mobility. Depending on your loved one’s unique circumstances, you might consider some of the following modifications:
If these home modifications are options for your loved one’s home, then aging in place can be safe and comfortable for them. These modifications can also help them to maintain more independence and require less help from friends, family, and neighbors for daily tasks.
How much help is available for your loved one on a regular basis? Even if their physical limitations are minimal, it’s a good idea to have someone visit and check in on a senior living alone at regular intervals. This can be as simple as someone being available to drop by each afternoon and say hello; even a phone call can be sufficient to check in and ensure that your loved one hasn’t suffered a fall or medical episode while they’re home alone. If your loved one has the necessary support, aging in place becomes more feasible.
If regular help from friends and family is not available, you might look into hiring a caregiver to visit your loved one. Again, this doesn’t have to be a very formal relationship, and the individual doesn’t even have to perform tasks around the house. Their job may be as simple as bringing groceries once a week, or simply visiting with your family member to play a game or take a walk.
When making a decision like this, you should always seek the input of your loved one’s doctor. This is especially true if your family member has a progressive medical condition like Alzheimer’s or dementia. In cases like these, it’s usually better to place your loved one in an assisted living facility long before you feel it’s necessary. This gives your loved one time to adjust to the new setting, which can make the transition much easier than when their condition has already significantly progressed. However, if your loved one’s doctor believes that aging in place is still a good option, they can offer some guidance to ensure your loved one is safe and healthy while continuing to live in their own home.
Loneliness is a major factor for many senior citizens living at home. It can be difficult to go on social outings, and they may have a hard time finding any time to connect with others. Again, if there are neighbors, family members, or even a caregiver that can spend time and socialize with your loved one regularly, aging in place can be a great option. However, if you notice that your family member is very isolated—and worse, if this seems to be leading to feelings of depression—an assisted living facility might be a better option. Even if they are physically capable of caring for themselves, facilities like these can help senior citizens meet and connect with others their age, and provide many opportunities to socialize.
Creating a Safe Environment for Living in Place
If you and your loved one determine that aging in place is the best option, please invest the time and expense needed to make your loved one’s home a safe environment for doing so. Ensure they have a mobility aid, even if they don’t need to use it all the time, and that they have safety features like grab bars in necessary locations. If you’re looking for any of these products, call or stop by Elixair Medical to find what you need.