A century ago, it was considered normal for a person to age and pass away in the home, surrounded by family. Today, this occurrence is relatively rare. According to Stanford School of Medicine, only about 20% of Americans die at home, while 20% pass away in nursing homes and 60% in acute care facilities, despite the fact that 80% of Americans would prefer to die at home.
This may be because younger family members have so much more on their plate these days, with most adults having to work to bring in adequate income, instead of having one adult stay home to care for the family and the household. Unfortunately, this can make aging in place, or remaining in the home, a difficult proposition for many seniors.
What is the major aspect of aging in place?
What is the major aspect of aging in place? It’s the feeling of being at home. Our homes provide us with a comfortable, familiar environment that is more than just a place – it’s a sense of stability. As we age, we don’t want to give this up, even if physical or mental health begin to decline to the point that we need help. Seniors that are forced from their home can become depressed and anxious.
There are, of course, potential barriers to aging in place, but more and more, we’re learning that the benefits outweigh possible difficulties in many cases. Here are just a few things you should know about advantages and challenges of aging in place.
Feeling At Home
Aging in place has recently become a significant issue, with the Baby Boomer generation advancing in age and wondering what the future holds. Although there are many facets to this complex issue, it’s natural to ask: what is the major aspect of aging in place?
The significance of “feeling at home” can not be overstated. Being forced into a situation where you’re in an unfamiliar place, separated from the home, the community, and the people you love, and having to adhere to sometimes strict rules, is stressful and upsetting, to say the least. It’s the last thing seniors need when they’re also dealing with common issues like declining health, the loss of older family and friends, and the struggle to find a new purpose after retirement, for example.
At home, seniors can feel comfortable and at ease. They don’t have to contend with the stresses of crowded nursing homes, where they may feel like little more than a number to overworked staff. With proper home care, they can avoid the homesickness, loneliness, and boredom that may await in care facilities.
Even in youth, the challenges of moving and starting a new life can make you feel anxious and overwhelmed. As an older person already trying to cope with managing the physical, mental, and emotional difficulties associated with aging, giving up a home and the feelings of comfort, stability, and familiarity it provides can be devastating.
Challenges for Seniors Aging in Place
It’s only natural for seniors to want to remain in the residence they’ve worked so hard to turn into a home. However, there are certainly potential difficulties inherent to aging in place. Many homes that were adequate when they were purchased by younger adults simply aren’t designed to suit the needs of seniors.
Safety is a potential problem, but simple changes like decluttering the home, adding safety features like smoke and CO2 detectors, increasing lighting, and removing hazardous materials can make a big difference. Modifications like handrails, non-slip flooring, and even ramps or other accessibility features could also help.
Location could be problematic for seniors that no longer drive if there is no nearby public transit, and seniors with declining physical or mental health may need help with everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning, and personal care, as well as more intensive medical care. However, with adequate home care, many of these challenges can be overcome.
Benefits of Aging in Place
In addition to the personal benefits for seniors of continuing to live in a familiar home environment, families may find it much more convenient to simply upgrade the house, rather than going through the struggle of clearing it out and selling it to move a senior to a facility.
Another obvious consideration is cost. Senior living facilities and nursing homes are not cheap. While making a home accessible and arranging for home healthcare services come at a cost, as well, it may be comparable to, or even less than the cost of uprooting seniors and moving them to full-time care facilities. Plus, you’ll keep senior loved ones happy, and that’s a consideration you can’t put a price on.
Other Helpful Aging in Place Resources
- 5 Common Barriers to Aging in Place
- Why is Aging in Place Important?
- Preventing Falls with Aging in Place Home Modifications
- Aging in Place Technology: 8 Gadgets Helping Aid Elderly Loved Ones
- What is a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist?
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.