There are many options to help people age in place. How do you know where to start? What to choose? What’s covered? And what exactly do you need? It starts with outlining your older loved one’s goals – what do they want and make a list of priorities.
What we know is that 76% of Americans aged 50+ prefer to remain exactly where they are and yet just 59% anticipate that’s possible. The reasons range between affordability, isolation concerns, transportation, medication management and the list goes on. Often, getting support early on with guidance can lower long-term costs and keep people aging well at home, especially after a hospitalization or surgery.
Some seniors need help bathing or keeping their homes clean, others need support with mobility or dressing. And quite often, they don’t tell you they need help until it’s too late. Many of our client’s family members have said to us they knew something was off when they noticed the small signs – mom fell getting into her shower or dad’s fridge was barer than usual.
Fear is often a major reason seniors don’t share what’s worrying them. They think their families or healthcare providers will take away their independence if they feel they can’t take care of themselves. We know that’s not true; we want the same thing for them to remain as independent and healthy as possible. Educating the senior and family members is our sweet spot – we identify areas of concerns and then help them recuperate after a surgery, prevent falls, and guide them towards staying well.
You may think your loved one is being quick or angry but they may be feeling worried and unsure on how to talk about that. Falls are often believed to be a cause of ‘normal aging’ but medication mismanagement, not eating enough of the right foods, or safety concerns around the house that are fixable can actually contribute to falls.
Doing a walk through with a trusted professional to review home and safety concerns is a great place to start. They can point out areas that could pose a safety hazard like throw rugs, piles of newspapers or collections, extension or lamp chords, poor lighting, etc.
Does your older loved one have to climb stairs to get to their bedroom? You may want to consider moving their room to the first floor. Same with laundry areas. Many seniors have their washer and dryer in the basement, could that be moved upstairs with better lighting so they aren’t carrying laundry up and down the stairs?
Adding motion sensor lights in the hallway or bathroom for when older loved ones get up at night can help avoid nighttime falls when they are a little drowsy from sleep.
These are just a sampling of what can be done to support seniors’ goals for aging in place. Download our e-book at the end of this article with even more tips and resources on getting the support you need to help your older loved one age in place. If you have immediate concerns, reach out to Homespire, an Intermountain Healthcare company, for guidance and a free consultation.