Planning Ahead is Essential to Aging in Place

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Senior man opening his front door to a female healthcare worker making a home health visit
Published:  May 29, 2023

The term “aging in place” has become popular as seventy-seven percent of adults hope to grow old in the safety and comfort of their own home—their “place”—according to a recent study by AARP. While aging in place isn’t always possible, taking steps to plan ahead now may help you stay in your home longer in the future.

Keep your home safe

Many of us would need to update our homes to make them safe and comfortable to live in as we get older. And that may mean making small, or sometimes even significant, adjustments around your home. The key is thinking about what you might need should you face physical issues or illness.

The National Institute on Aging recommends making these common changes:

  • Adding warmer insulation
  • Installing grab bars in your tub or shower
  • Putting in a ramp to your front door
  • Make sure your floors are non-slip
  • Switching handles on doors or faucets to ensure ease of use

If big projects aren’t possible, you may also think about smaller tweaks. For example, you can get rid of rugs that might cause you to trip or add non-slip grips to your bathroom floor. You could also clear out clutter in your living spaces.

Designate a caregiver

It can be tricky to make concrete plans for the future because it’s hard to predict what your exact needs will be. However, it’s important to think about who can help you if you can’t care for yourself on your own. Is there a family member or close friend who could help you with tasks like bathing and getting dressed? You might think about who will take care of you or talk with your doctor if you suddenly become ill.

In some cases, you may meet the requirements to qualify for a home health aide. Home health aides often help people who are aging in their homes stay independent as long as possible. These aides support personal care activities and everyday chores like changing sheets, making light meals, and more.

The physical and emotional support of a good caregiver can help you deal with the changes you’ll face as you age. And it may also make it possible to stay in your home longer.

Plan for meals

You’ll want to give some thought to how you’ll plan your everyday meals. Many options are now available to help seniors living at home get the nutrition they need. Some offer the opportunity to dine with other local folks as well and have some good conversations.

Your local senior center or house of worship may serve meals to seniors. If you need to or prefer to stay in your home, programs are also available that deliver hot meals right to your door. Some of these programs are free or low-cost. Your local Area Agency on Aging can help connect you to nearby resources and plan for your meals if needed.

Manage health care, finances, and transportation

Eventually, some tasks can get more complicated as you age, even if you’ve always taken care of them easily in the past. That includes things like paying bills, filling out insurance forms, and getting to doctor’s appointments. A family member or trusted friend may be able to go through paperwork with you and sort everything out.

If a family member or friend can’t help, your local Area Agency on Aging can recommend trustworthy people to support you. You can also find rides to doctor’s appointments and other activities through the Eldercare Locator.

Stay social

As you’re planning, think about how you’ll stay connected with others in your later years. Taking part in regular activities and seeing friends can help you keep a sense of purpose and happiness. Developing a regular social routine and support system can prevent you from feeling lonely and support you in your independence.

Think you or a loved one could benefit from home health care?

If you’re interested in learning more about home health care, please reach out. Our skilled and compassionate team is ready to help you, so you can remain at home where you’re happiest.

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