What Does Aging In Place Really Mean?

Find The Best Assisted Living Options For You

    Find The Best Assisted Living Options For You

    For the elderly, aging in place refers to growing older in your own home. It's one of the most commonly asked questions out there, along with what age is a senior citizen.

    For older adults who want to live with their family members in the comfort of their home, aging in place home modifications can greatly improve the quality of life. On the other hand, other choices provide additional support for those with medical needs, such as an external assisted living facility or a nursing home.

    For adults who may need extra aid, it's possible to invest in home modifications that enable seniors to stay on top of their health. For instance, if a senior has trouble with incontinence, pain, and uncontrolled body movement, having bed rails can help with physical support.

    Bed rails can help patients turn and reposition themselves in bed, provide a handhold for getting into or out of bed, and give many people an added feeling of comfort and security. However, they can be potentially unsafe if they aren't installed correctly. Caregivers should always ensure that the bed rail is correctly fitted, securely attached, and regularly inspected.

    What Does Aging In Place Mean?

    The aging in place definition is when older adults chose to invest in at-home care so that they can continue to look after their health while living at home. It's a form of semi-independent living, which some seniors might prefer.

    After all, it can be difficult to say goodbye to the happy memories that you've spent in your own home. In addition, seniors can maintain their typical routines and habits instead of having to make the switch to a different environment.

    There is a convenience for seniors who want to age in place, meaning they won't have to pack a lifetime of their belongings and make a stressful move to a nursing home.

    On the other hand, many seniors may not have the time or resources to effectively age in place. Chores such as cooking meals, yard work, grocery shopping, and vacuuming may not be possible as loved ones age. Repairs can also make things difficult for seniors who are unfamiliar with the latest tools and technology.

    Arguably the most significant factor in determining whether aging in place is the right option for a senior is the quality of life. There are plenty of health and safety risks that a loved one may face in life, such as poor lighting and slippery floors.

    Alternatively, an assisted living community or nursing home can give seniors the social support that they need, along with regular access to nutritious meals, caregivers, and home care. There are also regular activities that can prevent a senior from being lonely and isolated, even if they may have family nearby.

    Home renovations and in-home healthcare providers can help mitigate these risks, but these services might be cost-prohibitive compared to the cost of living in an assisted living community.

    Whether you're thinking about helping your loved one age in place or avail of other services, there are many factors and living options that caregivers should take the time to consider.

    Planning For A Senior-Friendly Home

    For seniors, seeing their physical and medical needs is one of the first things a care manager should do. This is because it will help seniors make the best of their living situation.

    Having a plan in place can aid a senior in getting the help they need, as they learn more about the aging in place process and the benefits that this could result in over a long-term period.

    Talk About What Living Conditions And Services Your Senior Needs

    Sometimes a senior may need help but be unwilling or unable to ask for it if they feel alone. Before pursuing aging in place arrangement, seniors should have a meeting with their spouse, kids, and grandkids to discuss changes and expectations that may take place.

    Plan whether day-to-day activities include tasks like bathing or their loved one and if a family member is willing to take this on. This can prevent any resent meant in the future.

    Consult A Medical Expert For Options

    Talk to a doctor or other medical expert about whether aging in place is the best option or feasible for the senior in your life. They may have ideas on improving the aging in place experience in terms of home renovations and more.

    Learn About Your Loved One's Day-To-Day Habits

    To learn about the household tasks that seniors can still handle, it pays off to observe their usual routine as they go about their day. They might also need extra aid but be unwilling to admit it.

    Contact Your Local Area Agency On Aging Office

    To search for the best local service in your area for aging in place, the Area Agency on Aging office has a network of over 620 organizations. Through their expert service, staff can guide seniors towards the best programs, facilities, and age-appropriate options.

    Reassess Living Occupations On A Regular Basis For Long-Term Care

    What might work for seniors today may not function as well as they age. Every six months or so, there may be new challenges related to physical mobility and the ability to live life at home. Taking down notes can get seniors the care they need.

    Life can be unpredictable, so it helps to have a contingency plan for alternatives to aging in place, with eligibility requirements, costs, and important details tucked away for safekeeping.

    Top Factors To Consider For Senior-Friendly Homes

    The good news is that new developments in technology for building and remodeling homes have made it easier for seniors to age in place. Aging-in-place home modifications have a large range of health benefits for seniors that are ready to take the next step and get started.

    Functionality

    Many people live in homes that might not be the best in light of the mobility issues that older adults tend to encounter. Narrow doors and hallways can make wheelchair navigation difficult, and floors can be a slippery hazard. These can lead to serious falls and other injuries.

    As a result, it's a good idea to assess the safety features in your home so that your loved one can age in place and overcome these issues.

    Installing handrails throughout the home is a good place to start, especially any stairways and along the route from the bedroom to the bathroom.

    In addition, sticking to soft and smooth surfaces like cork, rubber, and linoleum will help cushion joints and prevent slips from occurring. Avoid any rugs or excessively thick carpeting that can get in the way of walkers and wheelchairs.

    Kitchen Design

    For aging individuals, avoid installing cabinets over the stove as this can be hazardous for seniors who struggle with balance.

    Keeping drawers under the countertop and avoiding any high shelving can reduce the likelihood of any accidents.

    Bathroom Design

    Because standard towel bars aren't designed to support a person's body weight, consider installing grab bars to aid mobility in the shower.

    A walk-in shower with temperature anti-scalding technology is also preferable if you can make changes to your interior, as opposed to bathtubs that can cause slippage.

    An adjustable-height shower head that comes with a handheld extension can help seniors bathe independently and can help boost their emotional wellbeing.

    Home Lighting

    Dim lighting can cause many seniors to trip over furniture or lose their balance at night. Ensuring that all walkways, hallways, and major entryways have light switches that can illuminate each area is a great way to promote health and safety. Take care to check that lighting is glare-free to avoid any discomfort for seniors.

    Safety 

    If a senior is considering aging in place but doesn't have the family and friends who can provide the unique care they need, there are many benefits to consider when it comes to exploring in-home care services. There are several care options available, and the type of care depends on the needs of your loved ones. This is a wonderful option for them to gain a sense of independence while still being safe and remaining in their homes.

    Care Companions

    Some of the services that elderly care companions can provide to older adults include reading to them and keeping them company if they live alone. This is especially helpful for those who have mild or moderate dementia or frailty that requires needs supervision in their daily lives.

    In-home Caregivers

    Conversely, in-home caregivers can help seniors with activities like shopping, limited personal care like bathing and toileting, and preparing meals. However, their services do not include medical care such as administering medication. They can also do light housekeeping and provide useful reminders to take medication.

    Home Health Care

    If additional care is needed, a local nurse and/or physical, occupational therapist, or speech therapist can be prescribed by a physician or skilled nursing for dementia care. To find a professional caregiver, you can reach out to an in-home care agency, which will hire, train, and supervise your healthcare professional for you.

    Affordability

    While money can be a sensitive topic for many families, it's one of the key things to consider if you want to pursue an aging-in-place arrangement for seniors living. Getting professional care providers can require substantial fees that could add up in the long term, especially if you take into account in-home care and home renovations.

    If your loved one needs a high level of care or lives in a big city, in-home care can cost more than an assisted living community. Typically, in-home caregivers charge about $20 and $40 per hour, with the average monthly cost of a full-time home health caregiver at around $4,000.

    Most remodeling projects cost under $10,000, which is comparatively less compared to a nursing home. Long Term Care states that the average price for a semi-private room in a nursing home is $6,844 per month, while the price for a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility costs about $3,628 per month.

    However, assistive technology can provide more care options for seniors living at home. Small technology fixes don't need to break the bank. Smart home sensors can trigger light as soon as a senior enters a room, helping them find what they're looking for. A bed sensor can even let a caregiver know when a senior is up and about, while automation can even lock the front door and turn on the security cameras if needed. 

    While you could hire home remodelers for home modifications, if you can't afford to, you could also do it yourself with all the DIY smart technology options available.

    With new technology growing more and more sophisticated, there are more and more positive changes that could lead to better care for people who are considering aging in place.

    FAQs

    What is meant by aging in place?

    Aging in place refers to the process of aging at home, with the aid of a caregiver or family and friends around you.

    Why is aging in place important?

    Aging in place is helpful for seniors who are proactive and want to live life on their own terms. With the right support network, home safety, and health care services in play, many individuals see the value of aging in place in the comfort of their own homes.

    What are the major aspects to plan for when aging in place?

    Because the idea of aging in place can be a new experience for many families, looking at your current living situation, projected financial expenses, and taking into account your unique health requirements can make it easier for you to know whether it's the right fit for you on a social, physical, and mental level.

    What is a certified aging in place specialist?

    A Certified Aging in Place Specialist is not a healthcare professional, but they can give recommendations on home updates that will help a person live independently at home. They can advise you in terms of safety and function throughout the aging process.

    They can also provide product and resource recommendations as well as the costs and time estimates regarding common remodeling projects for the aging-in-place process.

    If you're not sure where to start when it comes to the aging-in-place process, you can search for and consult with a professional who has an aging-in-place certification. This can give your family and loved ones some added peace of mind. With their background in this area, they know about which design principles and resources are needed to help older adults who choose to age in place.

    To gain access to more free resources on bathroom safety products, mobility equipment, and bed aids that can benefit the elderly, check out our in-depth guides and articles on Senior Strong.

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