For many seniors, the thought of having to leave their homes and move to an assisted living facility is a devastating one. Because of this, most families try to do all that they can to help their parents age in place. When successful, aging in place means that a person can live in their home without losing out on the quality of life. The benefits of this choice can be long-lasting and include more independence, increased comfortability, and money saved.
Still, some preparations must occur for aging in place to be beneficial. For children of parents choosing to age in place, one of the first things that must happen is that the home is assessed for appropriateness. After all, your loved one’s safety is of utmost importance. Next, any changes that need to be made to increase safety and comfort should take place. Only then, will your parents be able to age in place with both comfort and dignity?
Benefits and Risks of Aging in Place
According to several studies on aging conducted by the AARP, seniors want to have choices over their living arrangements, and services as they grow older. Many of our parents have lived in their current homes for decades and the idea of moving to a new place or even a new neighborhood can be traumatic. Living alone in a place of one’s choice comes with a sense of security and refuge. It can also increase social connection as well as feelings of independence and self-esteem.
Even though the benefits of assisting one’s parents in aging in place are significant, there are risk factors surrounding this decision as well. The number one is the possibility of falling and injuring one’s self. This is a common occurrence, and unfortunately, many falls lead to death. Because of this risk, many families choose to hire professional home care services. But if you’re loved on is set-on staying in their home with little to no assistance, you should take the following steps to make sure their home is as safe as possible.
Preparing the Home
First, you should make yourself as knowledgeable as possible. Many of the more straightforward projects listed below can be completed DIY style, but for bigger projects, you should consider hiring a builder who has passed the Certified Aging in Place (CAPS) training program provided by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Builders who have completed this type of training will understand what your parents’ home needs to be safe. Along with this, they can also help with aging in place home decisions that arise along the way.
Specific things to address while preparing the current home include:
- Make sure that the doors are wide enough for wheelchairs
- Adding grab bars and grips to current tubs/showers for increased bathroom safety
- Removing throw rugs from the home (especially those located around stairs
- Installing additional lighting inside and outside the home
- Adding handrails to the sides of stairs or other areas where they may be needed
One great thing about living in the 21st century is that aging-in-place options are readily available today. Take Mary, aged 78, who is still living an energetic lifestyle and has no plans to slow down anytime soon. Mary’s three sons support her independence but were concerned about her safety since they live so far away.
Although she disagreed with the transition to a live-in facility, Mary accepted her sons’ offer to install a remote monitoring system in her home. It allows her children to know when she’s sleeping if she forgot to lock a door, and even lets her family know if her activity patterns have changed.
Some other high-tech options to assist with aging in place include:
- Motion sensors for the home
- Wearable wristband monitoring systems
- Voice assisted systems (i.e., Google Home)
- Apps for their phones that remind them to take medicine, do tasks, etc.
Taking Aging in Place a Step Further
Even with the best technology and home renovations, some homes will not be appropriate for your aging parents to live in alone. In cases like this, you might have to consider hiring professional in-home care. Although this isn’t always ideal, it will allow your senior to age in place while maintaining a high safety level.
To learn more about Senior1Care, and why we are quickly becoming the go-to senior home care choice for families in the Fort Wayne area, visit www.senior1care.com now.