Are you hoping to age in place as opposed to moving to a senior living community? Aging in place is a term to describe a person’s desire to stay in their home as they get older. While you may be living comfortably at home now, it’s important to plan ahead for future safety concerns and potential complications. Here are three things to consider for safely aging in place:
- Is your home environment safe and practical?
If you do not plan to leave the house you’re currently living in, consider how you can redesign it to best serve you as you age. Starting outside, enter your home and walk around. Are the steps, doorways, and hallways accessible for an older person to safely enter and move around in? Do you have the kind of staircase where a stairlift will be workable? If not, do you have space on your main floor to create a bedroom and a full bathroom?
While your home may not currently have those rooms on the main floor, you can potentially create the space by converting a porch or garage into a bedroom and using storage space to create a bathroom. Consider areas where you would benefit from having ramps or grab bars. You might also want to install new technology, such as a security system and/or a system that allows you to open doors with your phone.
- Who will help you maintain your home and finances?
You also have to make a plan for maintaining the home as you age. Who will clean your gutters, mow the grass, or shovel snow when you can no longer do those tasks yourself? Is the laundry room accessible, or will you need someone to come in and do your laundry? How will you get around town to run errands once you can no longer drive yourself?
No one wants to think about the time when they won’t be able to take care of their homes and their finances. But if you want to stay in your house, you must consider who will be the best person to handle your affairs. It might be a lawyer, a trust officer at your bank, or a trustworthy family member. Consider also having an in-home companion come once a week to help with chores and preparing food. You can increase your level of care as needed.
- Do you have a network of support nearby?
Lastly, don’t forget the importance of having a support network if you choose to age in place. Loneliness can be a very serious problem for elderly people. Do you have neighbors, family members, or church friends who will be frequently visiting you? Consider reaching out to your local Area Agency on Aging for support — they can help put you in contact with mobility assistance programs, social groups, and more!
As appealing as it sounds to age in place, there are a lot of things to consider. It’s best to start early and make a plan. We at Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care are also here to help you! Please reach out with any questions you might have about aging in place!