Aging In Place

adult daughter with mom and pills

Everything you always wanted to know about aging in place but were afraid to ask.

There’s a growing trend that’s sweeping the country. It’s called Aging In Place. Seniors prefer to remain in their homes or that of a family member as they enter the final chapters of their lives. In fact, 90% of seniors stay in their own homes as they age . Studies have shown that in many cases aging in place can keep elders happier, healthier, and more independent. Here are a few take-a ways about the prospect of seniors safely aging in place.

Living by one’s own rules is the primary reason for staying in one’s own home. More light was shed on this compelling topic at a recent Bloomberg panel discussion where Noreen Guanci, CEO of Long Term Solutions, was one of the featured panelists. The discussion was about working family caregivers at Bloomberg HQ in NYC, hosted by their HR department. A plethora of ideas came out of this forum, but for the purposes of this Blog, we’ll take a high level look at the features of aging in place that seniors and family members find helpful. A comprehensive resource guide about the latest elderly on-demand services and tech-savvy devices can be found on Aging2.com’s Blog here.

 

Start Having the Discussion in Advance
We’ve all heard horror stories about having to deal with a senior crisis and how, with a little advance planning, a higher quality of life and often times a less expensive living option, is at our fingertips. It’s never too soon to begin to have the tough conversation with a loved one. One important thing to remember is that seniors want to maintain some control over their lives. Make them an integral part of the conversation if possible to ensure a good outcome. For more information about having the difficult discussion, check out our previous Blog article, “Having Difficult Conversations about End of Life. Referenced in the article are the poignant words of Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal, “Our ultimate goal, after all, is not a good death but a good life to the very end.” Being Mortal is an excellent reference guide on how to start the conversation.

 

Make Modifications to Senior’s Home
Most of these safety features do not exist in a senior’s or a family member’s home for a senior to safely age in place. These features are particularly important as they begin to experience compromised balance, eyesight, and flexibility.

Key Senior Housing Features:

  • Non-slip floor surfacesgrandma helping to cook at home
  • Bathroom aides such as grab bars
  • A personal alert system that allows people to call for help in emergencies
  • Entrance without steps
  • Wider doorways
  • Lover-handled doorknobs
  • Higher electrical outlets
  • Lower electrical switches

(AARP, www.aarp.org)

 

Bring Care Services into the Home
Working caregivers are on the rise in America, which, as comforting as that may sound, is an added burden to the caregiver, the workplace, and often the care recipient. Increasingly, there are new on-demand services that are equipped to address household needs such as running general errands, shopping, and transportation to name a few. Many of these tech-enabled services vary by city and state, but several can be found online or on www.aging2.com. Many seniors have the resources and the inclination to try these modern methods, and with a little bit of sleuthing and practice, elders can grasp and obtain dependable services to decrease their feelings of isolation and dependency while enhancing their independence and vitality.

Aging in Place can Make Sound Healthcare Sense
Aging in place can be a sound decision from a healthcare standpoint where professional care and medical services are provided in the home. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Why More House Calls Could Cut Medical Costs”, hospital re admissions have dipped with in-home visits, decreased emergency room visits, increased medication adherence, and enhanced doctor/patient communication. These improvements have all been attributed to in-home care services. Moreover, home visits can often be more productive than office visits for elderly patients because they tend to feel more at ease relaying medical information or problems in the comfort of their own homes.
From a B2B standpoint, companies such as Long Term Solutions partners with employers to provide elder care guidance to their employees. This senior care advisement service enables employers to offer the best elder care resources to their employees as a valuable way to reduce the strain of the working caregiver, retain valuable employees, and achieve a higher quality of life for elderly individuals who wish to age where they live.

 

In summary, with a little advance planning, there are several proven ways that working caregivers can ensure that their aging family member can safely age in the comfort of their (or their family member’s) home. As we tend to cling on to our youthfulness and independence for as long as we can, doing a bit of homework on available in-home options can go a long way to ensuring a safer, healthier, and happier place for the senior in our lives to embrace their final years. Being proactive may pay off in dividends, as tech-savvy Millennials will need to begin to ponder these same decisions for themselves in the not too distant future.

 

Additional Resources:
Tech Tips from Today’s Panel on Working Caregivers at Bloomberg
Being Mortal, Medicine and What Matters in the End; by Atul Gawande
Having Difficult Conversations about the End of Life, LTS Blog
– Wall Street Journal, Why More House Calls Could Cut Medical Costs

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