It’s a fact. Most seniors today want to spend their golden years in their own homes—as many as 76% of AARP survey respondents over age 50 say they prefer to remain in their current residence for as long as possible. They don’t want to move into retirement communities or assisted living/personal care facilities.
Aging in place—aka aging at home—is a wonderful option that allows seniors to stay in familiar surroundings and in their own community of friends and neighbors. Being able to age in place successfully, however, does require some extra planning, a network of people helping seniors as needed, and a willingness on the part of the seniors themselves to accept help.
Here at MediQuest Staffing & Homecare, our experienced caregivers strive to make aging in place a reality for individuals who are committed to this lifestyle, no matter their care needs. Read on to learn more about how we partner with families and loved ones to help our deserving clients live better every day.
What is Aging in Place?
As we age, adapting to change can become harder. For most seniors, the idea of downsizing and moving from a house to a retirement community or assisted living facility is daunting—especially in light of the recent difficulties posed by COVID-19. Our lifetime memories are in our homes, and that is where we are the most comfortable.
For seniors who still drive, moving to another location often means having to learn new routes to regular destinations—or worse—having to switch to a new doctor, pharmacy, hairdresser, grocery store, or church. Aging in place at home reduces the amount of change, which can be especially crucial for slowing the progression of dementia. Additionally, staying home and aging in place is usually less costly than living in a retirement community.
Planning for Aging in Place
Aging in place works best when there is a plan for how seniors will get the support they will need. The type and amount of support will depend upon an individual’s health, mobility, mental acuity, and even their current home’s layout.
Seniors and their caregiving family members need to develop a plan that identifies any modifications the house might need to be safe for the inhabitants and improve their mobility within it. The plan should also include the type of outside caregiver support seniors might need and who can provide it.
Modifying Home for Aging in Place
As mentioned, making any home ideal for aging in place may require a few modifications to make things safer for the senior, increase their mobility within the home, and make the things they need more accessible. A great first step is to have a local agency on aging conduct a home assessment to identify potential hazards and suggest solutions. Our MediQuest team members are also happy to talk through concerns you may have about your loved one’s existing home.
Some of the most common modifications focus on fall prevention, which may include:
- removing all throw rugs and other tripping hazards
- adding railings, so every stairway has railing on both sides
- installing safety rails in showers, bathtubs, and beside all toilets.
- Getting a medical alert system is another way to ensure seniors can call for help if they do fall or have another type of emergency.
Additional modifications to enhance mobility within the home could include adding ramps, stairlifts, and swapping out doorknobs for door levers. In some cases, more dramatic changes may be needed, such as converting a first-floor living room into a bedroom or converting a bathtub into a step-in tub or shower.
The goal when planning modifications is to make the home safe and accessible for the senior at their current level of capabilities, as well as with an eye toward the future when health and mobility may diminish.
Determining How Much Support Seniors Need
The best way to determine what kind of support your senior loved one might need to age in place is to spend time with them in their home, observing their daily routine. Family members can make notes about what the senior can still do as well as things they have trouble doing.
When assessing the support a senior loved one might need, look at the key areas of nutrition, health, home upkeep, and yardwork.
- Does your friend or family member need help getting groceries or making healthy meals?
- Do they need someone to go with them to doctor visits or help them to organize medications?
- Does the senior need help with regular house cleaning and laundry?
- Does the senior need help with transportation?
- Does your loved one need help with mowing, weeding, and snow removal?
Review the list of support needs with your loved one and find out how they would feel most comfortable getting that help. For example, they might feel comfortable hiring people to help with housecleaning and yard work but prefer a family member to go with them to doctor appointments. Friends and neighbors may also be able to help by giving rides, running errands, or even making meals on a rotating schedule.
And, if you need help covering many of these necessities, MediQuest is your best local resource in Lancaster County, PA, and beyond.
Hiring Professional Support for Aging in Place
When family and friends can’t cover all the support tasks, they can turn to agencies like ours that provide in-home assistance to seniors. The levels of care available range from caregivers who give rides and do light housekeeping to those who can help with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and other activities of daily living (ADLs) to nurses who may administer medication and provide skilled care.
The cost of these services typically increases with the level of care provided. Generally, hiring professionals from care agencies is an out-of-pocket expense. However, long-term care insurance may cover some expenses, depending upon policy restrictions. Keep in mind that hiring professionals to provide home care is often much less expensive than the cost of being in a care facility—and we are willing to work with you to fit your budget.
Work With the Best in Home Care, Right Here in Lancaster County
Premier home care agencies like MediQuest, who employ certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, and registered nurses, can provide services at every level. Being able to work with just one agency also makes it easier to coordinate care for a senior loved one’s changing needs, which can take the stress out of helping that person age in place.
Ready to get started helping your senior family member or other loved one realize their goal of aging in place? Get in touch with us at MediQuest today to learn more about our caregivers and services.