For many seniors, the thought of having to leave their home and move to a nursing home or 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 the space where they are most comfortable without losing out on 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 conducted by the AARP, seniors want to have choices over their living arrangements and services. Many of our parents have lived in their current homes for decades, so idea of moving 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 as well. The number one being the possibility of falling and injuring one’s self. This is actually a common occurrence, and unfortunately, many falls lead to death. Because of this risk, many families choose to hire professional home care services. If you’re loved on is set-on staying in their home, 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. However, for bigger projects, you should consider hiring a builder who has passed the Certified Aging in Place (CAPS) training program. This program is provided by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Builders who have completed this type of training will better understand what your parents’ home needs to be safe. 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:
- Making 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 that weren’t possible in the past are readily available today. Take Mary Mathis, 78, of Massachusetts 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 wouldn’t agree to transition to a live-in facility, Mary accepted her sons’ offers 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 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 loved on to age in place while still maintaining a high level of safety.
To learn more about Cranberry Home Care, and why we are quickly becoming the go-to senior home care choice for families in the Middleboro, MA area, visit cranberryhomecare.com now.