As of January 2016, the Population Reference Bureau reports that more than 46 million Americans are over the age of 65. They project that this number will rise to 98 million in the next 40 years. According to a study by the AARP, of those 46 million Americans, 90% want to stay in their homes as they age. Coined as “aging in place,” the CDC defines this desire to stay home as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”
Some positive changes fueled this “aging in place” trend:
- Increased education levels
- An increase in life expectancy
- Declining poverty rate for those over 65
Aging in place has positive psychological benefits as well. Kathryn Larlee, J.D. explains in her article on Advancing Smartly that adults who grow older in their own home have better mental health, lower levels of depression, and higher levels of daily living function than those in a long-term care facility. She also states that those who remain in their own homes have more community involvement and experience less social isolation.
However, choosing to grow old at home comes with risks too. As people age, their ability to care for themselves diminishes. The need arises for assistance with personal care, food preparation, transportation, medical care, and many more issues. Sometimes this burden falls to family members. Other times there is no one available to help.
With so many older Americans wanting to remain at home as they age, how can they do so successfully? Thankfully, there are many support services available. In 1965, Congress passed the Older Americans Act, which mandated grant funding to states for establishing social services.
For New York City and the surrounding boroughs, the best place to start is the NYC Department for the Aging. They can connect you with some of the following agencies and services:
- Senior Centers – Senior centers offer a place for socialization, education, fitness, and healthy meals.
- Case Management Agencies – The CMA will assess the needs of the person and then help obtain in-home care services and meal deliveries, as well as educate on entitlements and available benefits. They can also provide advocacy with landlords and utility companies.
- Transportation – Some senior centers will provide transportation to doctor’s appointments or grocery shopping. The CMA can provide referrals to other transportation services in the area.
- Free Legal Assistance
In-home care services are the highest need as people grow older, and finding the right services is important. These in-home services can include:
- Home delivered meals
- Caregiver services such as bathing, feeding, housekeeping, etc.
- Social services such as transportation and shopping assistance, home visits, and regular phone calls to check on the person
- Pen pals are available through a service called Platinum Pen Pals, which connects high school students with seniors.
- In-home educational services
- Library services via mail
- Carrier alert programs: This is a special program that trains mail delivery people to recognize when a senior is in distress, such as accumulation of mail in the mailbox.
With the right combination of family or community involvement and support services, it is possible for people to grow old in their own home safely. They can maintain their comfort and dignity while receiving the help they need.
At David York Agency, it is our mission to provide the highest-quality support services to the aged, infirmed, and disabled. Our highly trained and vetted professionals can provide your family with a level of in-home assistance that meets your needs.
For more information about our qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need.