Your home is your safe place. It’s the place where you’ve likely made your best memories and spent your most cherished moments. Because of this emotional connection, many adults fear that they’ll have to move out of their home and into a care facility as they age. However, if the proper preparations are made ahead of time, you might not have to.
The term “age in place” refers to the ability to live at home as you grow older. This is a favorable idea for many elderly people. In fact, AARP studies indicate that 75 percent of Americans would prefer to age in place rather than move into an assisted care center.
Aging at home can be dangerous if the necessary precautions aren’t taken. Below, we’ll learn about the best ways to age in place safely to ensure a happy and healthy life.
Reasons That Aging in Place is Difficult
To safely age in place, it’s important to consider the kinds of things that can make home aging difficult. Ultimately, it may not be the right choice for some people, especially if day-to-day activities will be tough without another person there to assist as needed
Aging in place may be difficult if you have:
Increased Vulnerability and Impairments
It’s normal to have difficulty in completing tasks as you age. Elderly people often begin developing both physical and mental impairments, which can lead to injuries and confusion. For people who have advanced disabilities, aging at home may not be the best option.
If you or your loved one is determined to stay in your home as you age, but impairments are present, consider hiring in-home care assistants. Home health aides can help to complete day-to-day tasks like cooking and cleaning. They can also act as a second set of eyes and ears in the home. This ensures that the home will be safe in the case of an accident.
Living with chronic conditions is difficult in and of itself, but becomes even more so as you age. If you have conditions that require medical support — such as heart disease, COPD, osteoarthritis, or dementia — aging in place can pose additional burdens.
If you’re determined to stay in your home as you age, a hired homecare worker is a great option. Experienced caretakers can watch over you and track your health while helping you to live a normal life.
Benefits of Aging in Place
Aging in place is a great way to keep your life stable. You’ve already established a daily routine and changing that to live in a care facility can throw off your rhythms. As you research ways to age in place at home, consider these benefits:
- You can maintain independence and dignity.
- You’ll likely save money.
- You can live in comfort.
- You can maintain your social network.
- Cognitive decline can be reduced.
Living at home can be beneficial for many reasons. It allows you to maintain your lifestyle in the way that you want, while retaining as much dignity as possible. When aging from home is your preference, though, it’s vital to prepare your home for your new lifestyle.
How to Age in Place at Home
Preparing to live at home in your elderly years is a process. There are a variety of changes that should be made to ensure your safety and comfort, and this can take time.
Here are some of the steps that you should take when planning ahead:
Prepare Your Finances
Living at home is expensive, especially if you need to make repairs at your current house. It’s important to consider the amount that you’re spending while aging at home and compare this to the costs of living in a care facility. Common expenses include:
- Mortgage payments
- Utility usage
- Food costs
- Maintenance and repairs
- Cleaning costs
- Medical or in-home assistance
Even if your home is fully paid for, there are plenty of accruing costs that should not be ignored. Living at home isn’t free, but it can still be more cost-effective than living in an assisted care facility. Depending on your expenses, you may be able to obtain financial assistance for some of your costs through Medicare or another third-party service.
Use Technology Solutions
As you age, tracking your health is essential. That can be difficult when you live alone at home, but technology can help. Medical technology has come a long way in the past few years! Now, there are ways to record your vital signs and virtually submit them to an online profile or physician.
Some of the best technology solutions to consider using include:
- Fall detection
- Daily life sensors
- Pill reminders
- Healthcare management tools, like electronic blood pressure cuffs
These tools can help you and your family members to track trends in your health. In the case of an emergency, you can easily access a loved one or emergency medical care as needed when you use these tools. Additionally, you can easily update your virtual medical profiles, which can allow your doctor to monitor trends in your overall wellbeing.
Prepare the Home
When you live alone at home, safety is essential. As people age, they can have increased difficulty with their sensory responses and muscle movement. Because of this, adjustments to your home should be made to make your life easier.
Some additions that can be helpful to make sure that your house is properly suited for aging include:
- Replacing doorknobs with lever handles
- Removing rugs that may present trip hazards
- Installing brighter lights equipped with motion sensor technology
- Purchasing a stair elevator
- Move the master bedroom to the main floor of the home
- Install grab bars and shower chairs in the bathroom
This is not a comprehensive list of everything that should be done to a home when you want to age in place. Every person is unique and will have their own individual circumstances that need to be accounted for. For example, if you have dementia, you may need a home health aide, whereas someone with simple arthritis might not.
When learning how to age in place, be mindful and honest with yourself, and don’t be afraid to reach out for extra help when you need it. Your health should always be the priority. With the proper precautions upfront, you can age in place peacefully and happily.
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.