Written by Samantha Stein
Older adults face a great deal of challenges. Among these issues is the significant decision of where to live as they live the twilight years. Understandably, many would like to stay in their own homes and communities because this is where they are most comfortable. However, aging in place is not that easy to achieve.
Let us all agree that growing older is a privilege. Though many people do not like the idea of gray hairs and wrinkles, let us all pause and appreciate how far our society has come. Compared to a century ago, more people now are reaching their 80s. In fact, the number of centenarians is even increasing!
However, there are also a great number of challenges and issues that come with aging. From high costs of health and long term care to the danger of outliving their savings, older adults certainly do not run out of worries on their lists. While long term care planning can address certain issues, other concerns remain to be stressful and exhausting. With all these concerns, many older individuals find comfort in their homes and communities.
Successfully aging in place, however, requires effort not just from the individual but from the family and community, as well. What can family members and loved ones do to help older adults achieve this?
Defining Aging in Place
First, what does it mean for older adults to age in place? Simply put, it is the ability of an older individual to stay in their own homes and communities safely, independently and comfortably.
As anyone can see, this is a very enticing idea. In a report shared by HomeAdvisor, 68% cited that they feel independent in their current home, 66% state that they feel safe, 54% share that they are familiar with the neighborhood, and 38% wish to remain close to family.
So What Can Individuals Do to Successfully Age in Place?
Aging in place is not as easy as it seems, and it might get even more difficult as they grow older. Luckily, there are ways in which this can be achieved.
Home safety checks ought to be top priority. At times, there are hazards in people’s homes that they tend to overlook. Many have been living in the same house that they no longer see potential dangers as such.
Have someone from the outside check their homes. If hiring a professional for home modification is possible, then do so as well to help make the changes. Handlebars and motion sensor lights are much cheaper than a hip replacement.
Communicate with the Community
The community in which they reside can significantly affect a person’s wellbeing, and in turn, his or her ability to age in place. How supportive are your loved one’s neighbors and community?
Stay connected with members of the community. Thankfully, the internet has made this easy to achieve. Take advantage of this to ensure that your older loved ones do not become socially isolated. Bear in mind that these individuals will also be the first to respond should anything unfortunate happen.
Samantha Stein is an online content manager for ALTCP.org. Her works focus on key information on long term care insurance, finance, elder care, and retirement. In line with the organization’s goal, Samantha creates content that helps raise awareness on the importance of having a comprehensive long term care plan not just for the good of the individual but for the safety of the entire family.