What is Aging in Place?
“Aging in place” refers to older adults being able to live in their own homes as they age in an independent way, but also safely and comfortably. The majority of all senior citizens (those over the age of 65) prefer to stay in their own homes as they age, as opposed to going into an assisted living community or even moving in with other family members. Aging in place is a valid option for many seniors, but there are some things that need to be taken into consideration before your older adult plans to age in place.
Not an Option for Everyone: Is Aging in Place Right for You?
While it’s true that the majority of seniors want to age in place and that many can, there are certain situations where that may not be possible. Seniors with serious health limitations (physical and mental) that require around-the-clock care aren’t good candidates for aging in place. An assisted care facility or living with family members is usually the safest option for them.
There are also concerns when it comes to healthy senior citizens. One of the biggest concerns is elder falls, which are very common. Fortunately, there are ways that elder falls can be prevented.
Making the Home Comfortable for Your Older Adult
When your loved one decides that they want to age in place, modifications may have to be made to their home to lessen the risk of them having a fall. Elder falls can cause severe damage and even death in some cases. Some of the most common home modifications include installing bars in the shower or installing a walk-in shower or bathtub. It’s also essential to consider everywhere else in the home that can possibly occur.
The quality of the home is also vital to the overall health, safety, and comfort of your aging loved one. An example is indoor air quality. Several pollutants (smoke, carbon monoxide, etc.) can be present inside the home, and ensuring the quality of air indoors is healthy will prevent your loved ones from developing health issues. Regular cleaning of the home and air ducts and adding live plants in the home are great ways to improve air quality.
Allow Opportunities for Socialization
Aging in place is an excellent option for your older adult if they live in the same area as you or near a community that will support them. When your aging loved one has a support system, it makes aging in place more accessible, much safer, and more comfortable for them. This social support system should also include social activities and gathering with their peers because older adults are more at risk for isolation, which can have a negative impact on their mental health and physical health. Socialization is a vital part of life, especially as we age. Staying active in the community while also aging in place will help your loved one have a rich quality of life.
Benefits of Aging in Place: Better than A Nursing Home
Unfortunately, stories of residents enduring poor treatment in nursing homes and other care facilities are common, which may be a reason why many people choose aging in place. Aging in place also allows seniors to feel and be more independent and have more control over their lives. By staying in their own homes, seniors aging in place find the most comfort in a familiar setting, even if certain modifications have to be made for safety. Even some studies have shown that seniors aging in place tend to have better health outcomes than those in assisted living/care facilities. Aging in place is also much less expensive than a nursing home.
The safest and most comfortable option is the correct option when it comes to where your loved one will age. If they’re able to carry out personal care routines on their own, then aging in place is a possibility. If they need a considerable amount of care, then aging in place may not be the best option.