Aging in place is something that research shows, the majority of Americans seniors wish to do. Aging in place, however, requires some planning, because as we change, our needs change, and it can be difficult to anticipate all the needs that may change as we age. Will you be living alone? Will you or your spouse need care within the home? Maybe you don’t need help at home now, but your needs may change over time. There are many things about aging that they don’t tell you about. You might be one of those seniors that would have wanted to know many of these things, whether you’re aging in place currently, or have been considering it before. Here’s a few things to consider:
What They Don’t Tell You:
- You will have more independence and freedom while aging in place than those that choose assisted living, although at some point, you may have to give up some of the things that you once were able to do for the safety and well being of yourself, and others. For example, there may be a time where you’ll have to surrender your car keys. As we age, our reaction time may slow, our night vision may become compromised, our hearing changes, and prescribed medications can affect driving ability. You might want to learn more about public transport, or you can call your community services and find out what services are able to help you.
- You will have to find a system of organizing important legal documents, financial documents, as well as other things, while aging in place. You might create lists, alarms, and sticky notes throughout your home to help you remember medicine, and bills and so on. It is important to keep your documents and important paperwork in one place, so it’s easy to find.
You may want to share the location of important paperwork, such as bills and legal documents with a trusted friend or family member, so they may assist you with these items. Speak with your doctors and/or an attorney in to give advance consent to family and/or loved ones to speak with them or on your behalf, in case of emergency. Now is the time to get these affairs in order, making your desires known before it is needed. For financial needs, contact a money manager or local agency that provide resources for aging adults. There’s help available; you don’t need to do it alone!
- You may have family, friends and care providers check in on you throughout the week, or even provide unsolicited advice. For some people, this might get annoying, but know that they have your best interests at heart. Think of it as an opportunity to enjoy the company of those that you love, that also love you. As we get older, we need friends and family members more than ever. Accept the help when they offer—it can help you and make them feel good to be able to help.
- You might have to ask for help. As we age, some of the tasks that used to be easy are no longer as easy to do. Yard work and maintenance around the house, for example, might become problematic due to physical limitations that may develop as we age. If you have children, you can ask them for help or you may need to hire a landscaper, housekeeper, or other domestic service. Meal delivery programs or meal sharing with a friend might be a great solution for nutritional needs.
- There are so many devices that you can use, you’re not going to be sure which one to get. This is something that might save your life in the future – so why risk it? Medical alert systems, medical alert tags, electric lift chairs, pill box alarms, hearing aids, are just a few of the devices to choose from. There’s so much available to make your live more comfortable, as you age in place. Which ones will you choose?
Many who choose to age in place find it very rewarding to be at home, in familiar surroundings with the ones they love, rather than be in an assisted living home. There are many things that have to considered before making a decision to age in place, but many of the challenges can be overcome with a little help from others and a bit of research. Even good things do not come without it’s struggles.