Strategies for Seniors Who Desire to Age in Place

A considerable majority of people in the United States over the age of 65 strongly desire to spend their Golden Years living in the homes they currently occupy. In the realm of senior care, this technically is known as “aging in place.”

If you are a person who is heading towards his or her latter years of life, you may have a number of questions about aging in place, including what resources may be available to you to continue to reside in your home as you grow older.

Planning to Age in Place at Home

You cannot decide to age in place during the latter years of your life on a whim. Rather, you need to be proactive and engage in suitable planning, according to the National Institute on Aging. At the heart of planning ahead is undertaking a realistic assessment of the types of assistance you will need now and going forward into the future if you do age in place at home.

Admittedly, planning to age at home is not something that results in a concrete action plan. The reality is that as you grow older, your needs will change and evolve – including in ways that you could not possibly have anticipated. With that said, a reasonable way to begin planning to age in place is to look at any illnesses that you might have at this time. These include such things at diabetes, cardiovascular issues, COPD, or emphysema. You can visit with your doctor to ascertain how a particular chronic medical condition will impact your life as you grow older.

As part of planning ahead, you do need to consider who reasonably may be available to you to provide you with some caregiver assistance in the future should the need arise. Examples of who typically provides caregiver help to people who are in place are:

  • Family members (most caregivers in the United States are unpaid family members, typically spouses and children)
  • In-home care agency (provides assistance with various activities of daily living – as discussed below – on an as-needed basis)
  • In-home healthcare agency (provides assistance addressing medical needs of a person aging in place)

The planning process needs to include a candid and close examination of your finances. You also need to be realistic about who in your family really might be willing and able to provide you with some type of caregiving support should that need arise.

Resources Available if You Age in Place

The fact is that seniors can get almost any type of help they may need in their homes in order to age in place effectively. Communities across the United States have what is known as an Area Agency on Aging. This agency can provide you with a great deal of information about various resources that are available to you if you are a senior who has decided to age in place, or grow old at home

Examples of Resources and Services Available to a Senior Aging in Place at Home

In this day and age, there is a full spectrum of different types of services available that can be tailored to the particular needs of a person living at home and desiring to age in place. Many of these services are associated with activities of daily living that can be more difficult to undertake as a person grows older. These include such activities as:

  • Personal care: Personal care includes assistance with such matters like bathing, grooming, and dressing. A reality of growing older is that these tasks can become challenging – and sometimes highly so – for certain individuals as the years pass.
  • Household chores: Another area in which you might need assistance as you grow older is with household chores. These include such tasks as cleaning the residence, doing laundry, cutting the grass, and so forth.
  • Meal preparation: Maintaining a healthy diet is fundamental to wellness and longevity. As you grow older, you may find yourself less able to do all the work involved in keeping a truly healthy, well-balanced diet. In this regard, in-home care assistance can include meal preparation.
  • Transportation: Getting around can become problematic as a person ages, as well. Yet another area in which a person who is aging at home can garner assistance is in regard to transportation.
    Many communities have public transportation services that include special transport assistance for older individuals (or people with disabilities). Family members oftentimes are also called upon to assist older relatives in getting from one place to another, including such things as doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, and religious services.

Money Management Assistance

As people age, they can become less adept at all the niceties associated with financial and money management. This represents another area of day-to-day living, in which a person aging in place may need at least some assistance. For example, an older individual aging in place at home might need some assistance with paying bills.

Depending on a particular older individual’s circumstances, one or another legal steps might need to be taken in order establish a good system of money management. Options might include creating a power of attorney for financial matters.

A person might still have the wherewithal physically and mentally to live at home but requires more direct assistance in order to do so. In such a situation, the establishment of a guardianship and conservatorship might be a recommended course to take. In this situation, the court appoints a person to serve as the guardian and conservator for an older individual.

Healthcare Assistance and Medication Management

We previously have touched on the possibility that a person aging in place may need some level of healthcare-related support and assistance to be able to continue to live at home. One prime type of help a person living at home may require is medication management. Medication management involves making certain that an individual takes prescribed and other medications in an appropriate manner – correct dose, at the right times, and so forth. It involves making certain that medication refills are submitted in a timely manner.

Beyond Aging in Place

As is the case with many people from all walks of life, you may reach a point in your own aging process at which continuing to age in place at home may not make sense. An available alternative that strives to maximize your independence, enhance your safety and security, and provide you the specific types of assistance you need is assisted living. As you undertake planning to age in place, you should give consideration to what you think you would desire in the way of assisted living should that type of community become a potential option for you later in life.