What is Aging in place?
Aging in place means living out your life where you choose. It means not having to move from your home because your needs have changed.
For most people, aging in place means living out their life in their own homes. AARP studies show that more than 85% of those over the age of 50 say they plan to stay in their own homes as they age.
We believe that most people can remain at home if they plan for it.
In fact, that is a great way to begin a conversation with a senior who is determined to stay in his or her own home. They have been a responsible and prepared generation. They planned for the future with savings accounts and investments. They were prepared for disasters with home, car and life insurance. Insuring they won’t need to move to communal housing is simply a matter of planning.
Consider these Six items as you begin to make a plan
Install or secure Handrails wherever there are stairs in the home
Install grab bars in the bathroom DO NOT use towel bars for this purpose
Improve lighting for stairs and in hallways
Eliminate tripping hazards
Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – check batteries on schedule
Make modifications to the home using a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) to ensure handicap accessibility and remove common barriers.
Click here for more easy safety tips
Awareness of Senior Scams on the phone and by door-to-door workers
Evaluate having a Home Security system and a Personal Emergency Response System
Make a disaster plan for fire, tornado, hurricane or other emergencies
Keep a cell phone with you at all times
Create a call chain to alert family and friends if something is wrong
Keep extra medication stored handily
Getting the Chores done
Meal planning and preparation
Is driving a safety concern: __day time __ night time __on the freeway
Is public transportation an option?
Is there a list of people who would be willing to chauffeur?
Staying connected to family, friends and community
If driving is no longer possible how will you manage getting to appointments, to church, clubs or to the senior center and other locations?
Do you have an unlimited long distance calling plan?
Can you use and access the Internet?
Once you have talked through these areas and others that are unique to your situation, discuss hiring a Household Manager. I believe this is one of the most important parts of the plan, especially if there are not several family members available to pitch in at any moment.
Hire your personal staff BEFORE you think you need them
Having a Household Manager in place will help the senior stay at home in the case of an injury, accident or sudden illness. Once the hospital stay is over (and they are usually pretty short) the Household Manager can help coordinate and supervise medical equipment deliveries, home health workers, therapy and other professionals so the recovery can happen at home rather than in a long term care facility.
Household Managers take care of the routine management of the home but they also fill in other blanks in the plan. They can manage home safety, serve as a personal assistant, plan get-togethers, chauffeur and do errands. They also provide agreeable companionship. They get to know the employer and their preferences. It is their priority to see that the employer has what they need and enjoy.
There are retirement communities that promote the “aging in place” concept. They offer independent, assisted living and nursing care. To them aging in place means you remain in their community. You have to move from area to area as your needs change.
Each person has to determine for him or herself what aging in place will mean for them. It may mean moving to a condo or moving in with family. If you want it to mean staying in your current home, start working on your plan today. Don’t wait for a crisis.
Being prepared is the insurance policy that makes aging in place mean staying in your own home.
Vicky Horner has been serving seniors and their families for more than 25 years. As an LPN she has worked in Long-Term Care, Home Care and Assisted Living. From her own home, she and a staff of 10 dedicated employees operated a "Bed and Breakfast" style home for seniors for 4 years. Her time as an instructor and placement consultant at a Butler Training Institute led her to her most exciting work to date – helping seniors stay in the homes they love. As a Certified Life Coach, she is passionate about helping people to clearly evaluate their situations and take action to get the results they desire.