As seniors age, they and their families are faced with the difficult question of how to provide the best care. The necessary level of care depends on the situation, but aging in place is becoming more feasible due to a combination of factors. There are constant medical advancements, people are living healthier lifestyles, and people are retiring later, leaving them financially able to make the choice. Sometimes all it takes to age in place is finding a caregiver or agency you can trust.
The most obvious benefit of aging in place is familiarity with one’s surroundings. Familiarity may not seem like a big deal, but aging in a familiar place can alleviate depression and disorientation that sometimes occurs in aging facilities. Also, if you have the means for you or a loved one to age in place, you can avoid the dreaded argument that frequently occurs when parents are too stubborn to leave their home. It removes the tension that occurs when older people think moving them is a sign of pushing them away.
Keeping a Routine
Studies show that people remain healthy, both physically and emotionally, by keeping with a routine. A routine can be anything from housekeeping to yard work, or seeing neighbors and cooking. These are all forms of physical and mental exercise that patients do not receive in institutional settings. Doing small things to keep active can help reduce what is known as aging atrophy, eventually leading to a complete dependence on others. This is not to say that it’s harmful to depend on others for certain activities of daily living. Oftentimes, a loved one or a professional caregiver can help someone maintain a healthy routine.
Safety and Health
By aging in place, seniors can control their environments. They are not forced to acclimate to an environment controlled by others. The house can be as clean as they like and they are able to decide which visitors they want to see. At facilities, residents are forced to see health care professionals, other residents, and the families of other residents. Also, a major fear, when living in close quarters with other people, is the spreading of sickness or disease and this is alleviated by remaining independent.
What Kinds of Resource are Available?
As mentioned, sometimes people need caregivers in order to age in place. Caregivers are able to offer a variety of services, including homemaking, personal care, meal preparation, and medication management just to name a few. If bathing or maintaining personal hygiene becomes troublesome, a part-time caregiver can help. Or perhaps housework, laundry, or grocery shopping have become problem areas. Some grocery and drugstores offer delivery services, but if not, a caregiver can help with these things as well. Depending upon the type of services needed, there are different types of caregivers available with different job titles.
If a caregiver is needed, it is best to talk to an agency or a care manager. A care manager is someone who is trained to plan, organize, monitor, and deliver services to an elderly person. They can be immensely useful. Aging can be a time of navigating new terrain, but aging in place can hopefully eliminate some pressure.
Max Gottlieb is the content manager for ALTCS and Senior Planning. Both organizations work in tandem to provide free assistance to the elderly and their families when it comes to finding care options, benefits, or senior housing.