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What Is “Aging In Place”?

What is “Aging in Place”?

Simply put, aging in place is a term used to describe a person living comfortably in their own home for as long as possible, as they age.

Research shows that meeting a senior’s desire to age in place has many benefits such as faster healing time after surgery, increased feelings of dignity and independence, and an overall higher quality of life.

Helping enable a loved one to age in place successfully means making sure their home environment is safe and that they have access to support services when needed. Minor home modifications can help prevent a disastrous fall and utilizing in-home care can delay the need to move to a long-term care facility.

Home Safety

Here are some ways you can modify your loved one’s home to help them age in place safely:

Improve Lighting – Poor vision is common among older adults. Making sure the home is well lit is a simple precaution that can help seniors avoid a fall.

  • Install brighter lighting by doorways, steps and hallways.
  • Place a lamp next to the bed so it is easy to reach during the night
  • Make sure the path from the bed to the bathroom is clear and well lit. Inexpensive motion-sensor nightlights can help with this.

Make the home accessible – Over time, a senior’s mobility often declines increasing the risk of falling. At some point they might require a device to help them walk which can make it even more difficult to get around the house.

  • Make sure the floors are clear of any objects and/or clutter that may pose a tripping hazard.
  • Remove area rugs if possible, or secure them with a nonslip backing.
  • If there are stairs in the home, make sure they are even, free from debris and have sturdy handrails, preferably on both sides. Consider having a chair lift installed if the stairs become too dangerous.

Renovate the bathroom – Dangerous falls often occur in the bathroom due to its wet and slippery surfaces. Make sure the bathroom has the following safety measures in place to help prevent injury.

  • Install a bench in the shower.
  • Place non-skid decals or a rubber mat in the bathtub or shower.
  • Install grab bars by the toilet and in the tub/shower for support.
  • Make sure the floor has a nonslip surface and bathmats are secured to the floor with a nonslip backing or double-sided tape.

In-Home Support

Here are some of the ways enlisting in-home care services can help your loved one age in place safely:

  • Personal care – At some point, seniors who live at home might need assistance with bathing, grooming and using the restroom. In-home caregivers provide compassionate aid with personal care and hygiene tasks.
  • Light housekeeping – Regular cleaning tasks can become challenging for older adults. In-home care services can help with light household chores allowing clients to stay safe and comfortable while aging in place.
  • Recovery care – An in-home caregiver can help seniors recover from surgery at home by assisting with detailed post-op routines including timely medication reminders and assistance with rehabilitation exercises.
  • Alzheimer’s & dementia care – In-home care allows seniors living with Alzheimer’s or dementia to receive the support they need while staying in a familiar place. An agency can match a client with a caregiver who is experienced in providing proper care for impaired cognition, helping them enjoy the highest possible quality of life.
  • Companionship – Older adults who live alone often experience social isolation and feelings of loneliness, which causes their health to decline. Companionship is a key part of senior care as caregivers provide a familiar face, friendly conversation, and a meaningful human connection that greatly improves quality of life.
  • Transportation – In-home care services can include safe and reliable transportation, enabling seniors to run errands, go to appointments, visit friends and family, and enjoy their regular social activities.

It’s important to plan for aging in place in advance. Creating a care plan that focuses on your loved ones needs, finances, and other items early on allows them to have a say in how they will be cared for down the road. Keep in mind that their ability to safely age in place will need to be evaluated often as health conditions change, and at some point additional assistance may be necessary.

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.

Carol Pardue-Spears

Carol has worked in the healthcare field for more than forty years. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she worked for El Camino Hospital in the cardiac unit, Los Gatos Community Hospital, The Women’s Cancer Center in Los Gatos and several home health and hospice agencies. Carol founded Family Matters in 2002 to fill a deficit she witnessed in high-quality, in-home services and care.

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