“I really have trouble getting up the steps.”
“It’s hard for me to get in and out of the shower.”
“My kids grew up here. I don’t want to leave this place, ever.”
Do some, or all, of these statements, sound like you? If so, it may be time for you to consider what aging in place will look like for you. So, what exactly does again in place mean? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines aging in place as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.” When you want to age in place, there are several things to consider that may involve long- and/or short-term planning. Let’s take a look at common concerns about aging in place and how you can alleviate those concerns.
- Getting around the house – It’s important to remember that your mobility needs can change over time. Right now, you may not require a walker but 10 years down the road, that may change. Regardless of whether you need a walker, you may still struggle to get up and down the stairs. Therefore, you may want to start planning for something that can help you now and later. To help with getting around the house, many people hire a local service provider to:
- Get a chair lift.
- Move their bedroom to the first floor.
- Installing a walk-in shower.
- Install a ramp for ease of access in and out of the house.
- Remove/repair trip hazards.
- Meals – Oftentimes, after a spouse has passed away or the primary cook gets older, cooking dinner becomes a burden. There are several services around Frederick County that can help you with meals such as:
- Meals on Wheels
- A paid meal delivery service
- Having a caregiver come in to prep meals
- Getting around town – As we age, our eyesight tends to decline, and our reflexes tend to get slower, which makes driving more challenging and risky. There are several options to help you get around town including:
- Asking a friend, family member, or neighbor to drive you.
- Hiring an in-home care agency to help with doctor appointments and such.
- Partners In Care
When to Start Planning
It’s never too early to start planning for aging in place. In order for you to stay in your home, it may require you to remodel your bathroom, make changes to the doorway widths, or even make some changes to your kitchen. Some of these things can be costly so it’s good to start thinking ahead about what would make living at home easiest for you.
If you have already experienced falls and are having difficulty getting around, it’s time to start making more immediate changes. Even if you are experiencing things like knee pain, it’s best to make changes to accommodate you now rather than wait until you need a knee replacement.
To start planning, it’s a great idea to use the services of a Certified Aging in Place Specialist. These professionals can assess your home and make recommendations that would make aging in place safer and more enjoyable for you.
Being less mobile and needing the assistance of others is a natural part of aging so it’s completely normal. Give yourself some grace and allow others to help you plan and implement the changes you need to make your home as safe as possible. You can download our home safety checklist to get started!