Like many seniors, you may be hesitant to move as you age. After all, your home is where you raised your family. You have a community of friends, family, and neighbors who you’ve known for years. “Aging in place” is a term that refers to seniors who choose to grow old in their own home, rather than moving to a senior living facility. Below are some things to consider when deciding if aging in place is the right approach for you.
By design, most senior living facilities, whether nursing homes or villages, address common safety issues as the homes are being built. In contrast, your home might not have been built with your changing needs in mind. It is important to make changes to your environment before these become problematic.
Falls are among the most common injuries for the elderly. Have a loved one help you identify hazards in your home. Be sure to straighten out any bunched up rugs, or remove them entirely. Tape cords to the walls and rearrange furniture in such a way that it does not obstruct walkways. Buying non-slip footwear can create extra traction on slippery carpets, which also reduces the risk of falls. Finally, install handlebars in wet places like the shower to add extra stability.
If your home has a steep set of stairs outside, replacing it with a wheelchair ramp can be helpful in case of injury. Similarly, if your home has stairs inside, you may want to consider rearranging the home so that you do not have to climb up and down the stairs any more than necessary.
As much as you may want to remain completely independent, you probably will need help with some tasks as you age. Many who choose to age in place already have a community of neighbors, friends, and family who are nearby and can assist them with daily tasks, such as laundry or grocery shopping.
If you want to age in place, but do not already have the social resources available, then there are still options. If you are religious, you may find help at your church or other place of worship. Alternatively, you and a family member can talk about hiring a home health aide who can assist with chores that might become difficult as you age. Finally, there are services available that can deliver meals, or provide help on an as-needed basis for a fee.
By all accounts, if your home is already paid off, it costs less to remain at home than to move into a nursing home. However, it is still important to weigh out the potential costs of remaining at home, especially if you have a limited income, or if you have to pay for in-home care. Aside from costs directly related to care, you should also consider any remodeling that might need to be done for you to remain in your home, as well as the cost of technology that can make your life easier.
Deciding whether to transition to a senior living facility or age in place is a complex and personal decision. Being realistic about your future, as well as speaking with loved ones about their potential role can alleviate stress and make your later years as comfortable as possible.
Safety concerns about being alone can be eased with a medical alert from Pioneer Emergency. Want to learn more? Give us a call at 1-800-824-8844.