Fall 2020: What it Means to Shelter (and Age) in Place

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Fall 2020: What it Means to Shelter (and Age) in Place

Fall equates to change. As summer slowly bids goodbye and cooler weather waltzes in, fall reminds us of ephemerality. Just like the changing seasons, our lives are drawn with impermanence. Changes that take place in autumn are much like the transitions over our senior years. Yet change is not the easiest pill to swallow.

Some seniors find comfort in permanence, making aging in place a great deal for them. For seniors who opt to age in place, assisted living, nursing homes, and memory care homes are not at all an option to them. It might sound like a daunting choice because it certainly is. Aging in place comes with a lot of considerations. Perhaps you or your senior loved one refuses to be away from home. We’ll shed some light on what it means to shelter in place.

 

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Planning Ahead

As one preserves and prepares for the season change,, choosing to age in place is much the same. When an aging adult plans to stay in the comfort of his own home during his twilight years, his preparations must come years ahead too. If they have any chronic illnesses or are at risk of developing one, then they must foresee how it may progress. Chronic illnesses may affect them living independently in the future. It’s also best to sort out the costs of aging in place. Even with health insurance, some adjustments are costly.  Certain considerations such as safety, financial matters, health care accessibility, and other personal preference must be addressed early as seniors seek to build their haven during their golden years.

 

Making Home Modifications

Over time, a senior’s changing needs require adaptive safe spaces. Aside from mobility challenges, conditions such as chronic illnesses, cognitive impairment, and overall declining health require home modifications. For instance, loss of function and muscle weakness makes seniors more prone to fall-related injuries. In such a situation, their home must have grab rails, less steep stairs, no tripping hazards, and no elevated surfaces. For seniors with progressing dementia, alarms on all doors and windows must be installed to prevent them from aimlessly wandering, and dangerous areas such as hot tubs, stairwells, or swimming pools must be fenced.

Other aging-friendly home modifications are as follows: indoor threshold ramps for seniors using wheelchairs, wider doorways for those who use walkers, kitchen modifications such as lower countertops and sinks for those with upper body difficulties, bathroom modifications (replacing bathtubs with walk-in showers) and flooring modifications. A carpet must provide safety over tiles and hardwood, which can cause fatal head injuries if a fall happens. Just place it securely so as not to create tripping hazards.

 

Implementing Assistive Technology

In case a loved one may not be relied upon or is too far away to offer assistance, aging in place can also mean installing assistive technology to achieve independence and safe living. This can vary from a medical alert, smart home devices, active monitoring systems, and assistive seating devices.

A medical alert system is a life-saving tool for seniors. This can come as a smartphone app or a wearable device.  In case of emergencies such as a fall, an asthma attack, or an onset of heart attack signs, the seniors will just push the alarm button and it immediately rings their emergency contact.

On the other hand, home devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home can offer assistance for automated lighting, reminders for medications, and accessible grocery shopping. Assistive seating devices provide a self-powered or electric lift to help seniors carefully shift from sitting to standing position. Lastly, personal monitoring apps can help them track their daily activities and health-related functions. Aging in place becomes anxiety-free if it utilizes modern technology for safety purposes.

 

Aging in Place Services

Aging in place is not as distressing as it may seem. Yes, as seniors age, their needs increase, but their capability to conform to them decreases. There are a lot of services to support their concerns—but of course, they can be costly. Your local area agency on aging may provide some of the necessary information.

If your senior loved one ever finds difficulty in personal tasks such as taking a bath, then a trained aide should help. Housekeeping, cleaning, and yard services are also available to assist them with household chores. And concerning difficulties in paying for health insurance and bills, aside from their trusted family, financial counselors and geriatric care managers offer sure support.

 

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Expanding Resources

Lastly, seniors who choose to shelter in place must seek to expand their sources of help. No man is an island, as the saying goes.  If they choose to settle in their own home, most likely, they know people around the neighborhood. Friends, family, and neighbors are excellent sources of help for their growing needs. For close neighbors and friends, it may not be a pain to offer help in grocery, transportation, and household chores. They are also reliable enough to check on your senior loved one every once in a while. Community and local government resources also offer senior aid. Services provided by senior centers can be transportation services, health and wellness programs, recreational activities, and other senior-friendly programs.

If ever there is difficulty in finding a reliable caregiver nearby, then geriatric care managers can come to the rescue. They are especially helpful in providing seniors with a long-term care plan. They may assess living situations and may recommend health care personnel if necessary. Depending on their needs, geriatric care managers provide seniors with the most conducive services for quality living.

 

Key Takeaway

Sheltering in place, just like most decisions one chooses to make, comes with consequences. It’s not an easy path to go down for seniors nor their loved ones. It takes a whole lot of planning, but it can also grant freedom of lifestyle and health care choices. It could also mean drastic adjustments on both sides. But above all, it means that your senior loved ones get to choose how to spend their retirement years, and resources like My Living Choice are here to assist in locating the best senior living option possible.