“This has been my home for 40 years and I love it here, but I just can’t keep up the care like I used to.”
“I want to go out today, but I don’t think I can get myself ready in time.”
“I love to eat, but haven’t had a decent meal since my spouse died.”
Do these quotes sound familiar? If so, you are not alone. An astounding 90 percent of people over the age of 50 want to remain in their own home, but many worry about “aging in place.” Up to half of older adults are afraid of falling, for example, while others are worried about being alone. These are common – and very real – concerns for older adults. About 36 million older adults fall each year, and more than a third of adults ages 45 and older experience loneliness, which can lead to serious health conditions.
The good news is that you may be able to age in place, comfortably and safely, as long as you have a solid plan and the right help. What’s even better is that you can get the help you need to continue living independently from warm and caring professionals in your community at King’sBridge.
Planning to Age in Place
Planning for the future can be tricky, as you may not always be able to predict how your needs might change. Fortunately, you can create a plan to age in place in just four easy steps.
1. Assess your current situation
Evaluating your current circumstances helps you create a personalized plan for a carefree, active lifestyle in the future. Start by assessing your present living situation. Do you live alone or do you already have someone to help you? Do you have a spouse or family member that requires assistance?
Assess the layout of your home. Is your bedroom or full bathroom easily accessible, or do you need to climb stairs to access them?
Consider any illnesses, such as COPD or diabetes, which you or your spouse may have. Consult with your doctor about how these health issues might make it hard to take care of yourself or your spouse.
2. Dream about your future
What would you like to be doing today? How about six months from now? Think about all those things you would like to be doing, and evaluate the obstacles that may prevent you from getting there.
3. Determine the services you may need for aging in place
A wide variety of services are now available to help older adults age in place. The services you may need depends largely on your current living situation, any medical conditions you may have, and your vision for the future. Getting a little help with personal care can get you dressed and ready for your day faster and safer than doing it alone, for example, and having someone else prepare meals can help you get the nutrition you need without the hassle of shopping and cooking.
If bathing, washing your hair, or getting dressed is challenging, a personal care assistant can help. Your care assistant may be a spouse, a friend or relative, or even a trained aide. Having someone assist with personal care can help you look and feel clean, well-dressed, and ready to greet your day – all without struggling to do it yourself.
Housekeeping, yard work, grocery shopping, and laundry are back-breaking chores that take a lot of time – wouldn’t you rather be doing something more enriching and rewarding?
You can save a lot of time and energy by hiring housekeepers and yard maintenance services. Always be on the lookout for other services offered by your favorite merchants and organizations: some dry cleaners will pick up and deliver your laundry, for example, while many grocers and drug stores now take orders over the phone and deliver the goods to your home.
Do you skip meals because you are too tired or overwhelmed to cook? Have you stopped cooking or eating home-cooked meals after losing your spouse? Poor nutrition can cause or worsen certain chronic health conditions; eating poorly also decreases your overall quality of life.
Aging in place means you may need to rethink your approach to food – you may not have the time, energy, or skills to create nutritious meals every day. To get back on track, plan to share cooking responsibilities with a friend, relative, or neighbor. Ask someone to bring you a healthy meal a few times each week. Look into meal delivery programs that bring hot meals into your home free of charge or at low cost. Call your local senior center or house of worship to learn if they serve meals.
Did you remember to take your medicine today? It’s easy to forget! The average senior takes four or more prescription medications each day, and 39 percent take five or more each day – this leaves a lot of room for error. Fortunately, a number of devices are available to remind you to take your next dose. Pill boxes allow you to set out your pills for the entire week, for example, and apps and programs for your cell phone and computer can also help remind you. A home health aide can also help you manage your medications.
4. Consult with a senior living professional
While many older adults are just now learning about aging in place, senior living professionals are quite familiar with the concept – and they are extraordinarily good at providing the services older adults need to stay at home.
For more information about aging in place, contact King’sBridge Retirement Community. We provide a wide variety of services and amenities for active seniors who want to stay near their friends and favorite places.