As people get older, they often have several decisions to make about their living situation. Some choose to downsize, moving into a smaller residence or from a multi-story home to a single-story home. Some move into independent or assisted living facilities. Still others prefer to age in place, remaining in their homes for as long as possible.
Aging in place has become increasingly popular in recent years, and people have modified their homes to make it possible. There are also several programs available to help older adults live alone. Learn more about the aging-in-place resources that might be available to you.
What Is Aging in Place?
As we learned from Dorothy Gale, “There’s no place like home.” That sentiment rings especially true for someone who might have lived in the same house for 30, 40 or even 50 years. Leaving home as an older adult can be challenging and heartbreaking. There’s also a loss of independence that often goes hand in hand with leaving home. If a person moves in with a family member or into an assisted living facility, they might feel like they are giving up some part of themselves.
Aging in place refers to remaining in your original home as you get older. There are many benefits of aging in place, such as a reduced cost and the opportunity to stay close to an established community. There are also some concerns involved when someone decides to stay home as they get older. For instance, their home might lack features and spaces designed for someone with mobility issues. Or, they might find they can’t do the things they did previously, such as drive or prepare meals.
Since so many people want to stay at home as they get older, several aging-in-place organizations exist to make that goal a reality. These senior community resources can provide transportation, food, care and companionship to adults who choose to remain in their homes.
4 Organizations That Can Support You
Many organizations focus on providing care and assistance to older adults who want to remain in their homes. Some aging-in-place organizations are government-funded, while others are privately operated. While some point older adults in the direction of further assistance, a few provide direct support. Whether you’re looking for help with food, transportation or other day-to-day activities, here are a few available elderly resources for you.
- Area Agencies on Aging: This organization’s mission is to help people live in their homes for as long as possible. There are more than 600 AAAs across the U.S., and each one provides a range of services to older adults and their caregivers. While the exact resources can vary, many provide access to meal delivery, transportation options and counseling.
- National Aging and Disability Transportation Center: Some older adults choose to stop driving due to changes in their vision or medical concerns, making it challenging to stay alert behind the wheel. If you remain in your home, there will likely be times when you need to go somewhere, such as a doctor’s appointment or the store, and don’t have a friend or relative to take you. NADTC helps connect older adults to transportation options, such as customized community transportation buses.
- Meal delivery programs: You might not want to cook only for yourself, or perhaps you’re not very comfortable in the kitchen. Meal delivery programs bring fresh, cooked meals straight to your door. While many programs target older adults, some are convenience programs for busy couples and families. If you can or want to cook, another option is to subscribe to a meal kit program. You’ll receive pre-portioned ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes for several meals each week.
- Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly: Adults over age 55 who meet specific requirements can take advantage of PACE. PACE provides health care services, meal preparation, transportation and chore help to those who qualify for it.
4 Examples of People Who Can Support You
Besides connecting with national or local organizations to help you age in place, you can also get support from individuals in the community. Some of these people might know and love you and want to help, while others are professionals you can hire.
- Your neighbors: Your neighbors can be an excellent source of support. How much you depend on your neighbors depends on how close you are to them, their willingness to help and what you need. For example, they might be happy to bring your mail in for you or take your trash out to the curb weekly. If you’re close to your neighbors, they might visit you every so often to keep you company. You could also ask them to pick up groceries or other necessities for you.
- Your family: Family can be another excellent resource, especially if yours lives nearby. Your children or grandkids can do chores around the house. Your children might also be willing to drive you to appointments or the supermarket. Depending on your level of need, family members can handle making appointments for you, too.
- Geriatric care manager: A geriatric care manager is typically a social worker or nurse who directs you to helpful resources or who can support your day-to-day activities. They might visit your home and recommend ways to improve it. They may also help you with long-term planning or act as a mediator between you and your family members.
- Home health aides: A home health aide can assist you with daily tasks, helping you get dressed and ready to go in the morning. They might prepare meals for you, too. While they aren’t nurses or doctors, a home health aide can keep track of your overall health, monitor your vital signs, and report to your family or medical team if they notice any drastic changes in your mental or physical health.
Common Concerns About Living Alone as a Senior
As you decide to remain in your home, it can be helpful to list potential or current concerns you have. Knowing what is or could be an issue can help you find the resources that will best support you. For example, some concerns older adults often have include:
- Meal preparation
- Keeping up with medications
- Feeling lonely
- Feeling bored
The resources mentioned above can help you address or avoid many of the concerns people encounter when they age in place.
Make Your Home More Convenient With a Residential Elevator
There is a wealth of resources available to help you feel comfortable with the idea of aging in place. Along with taking advantage of any community resources or the support of your network, you might also want to consider modifying your home to make it more convenient to age in place. One option is to install a residential elevator, so you can continue to live in a multi-story home without limiting your access to specific areas.
To learn more about the process of retrofitting your home for an elevator, contact an Inclinator dealer near you today.