It’s not always easy for older people to live on their own. Maybe they’ve just lost a spouse who took care of them. Maybe they’re just getting too old to do the things they used to.
While assisted living facilities are popular with many older Americans aged 65 and up, there are also many seniors who want to continue to age at home and remain in the comfort of a place with which they’re familiar.
Family members are often the ones who are left to answer the tough questions: How can you make sure your aging loved one is safe if they continue to stay at home? Thankfully, there are things you can do to make it easier for your loved one to maintain their quality of life in the comfort of their own home. It takes some planning, support, and education, but it can be done!
Planning Ahead for a Senior to Stay at Home
If your senior loved one wants to stay at home, you’ll have to plan what will be needed for them. Your plan should include things like:
- How their needs will change over time
- What the layout of the home needs to look like
- Which items in the house could be dangerous/hazardous
- If they have any illnesses/health problems that need to be looked after
You know your loved ones better than anyone. So, the planning you do should be specific to their needs and what they want. Keep in mind that your plan should always be adaptable as their needs continue to change and evolve.
Finding the Support They Need
If an aging senior wants to stay at home, they’ll undoubtedly need support and help from several different people. If you’re a family member, visiting as often as possible is a great place to start, but you may want to consider a long-term caregiver or healthcare worker to stay with them on a daily basis.
Someone to help them with personal care should be there in the mornings and evenings to help them get ready for their day and ready for bed. Someone to cook meals is also important, whether they come at meal time or can make food ahead of time that is easy for the senior to heat up later.
Someone to do household chores, manage finances, and take care of other documentation that comes to the house also needs to be set in place. This is often a family member, so it’s something that should be worked out between the aging individual and their children, spouse, etc.
Staying Safe at Home
Perhaps the biggest concern that often goes with seniors aging at home is safety. While the plan you create should go over different safety concerns, it’s important to act on those concerns immediately.
If the aging individual in your life has a hard time getting out of bed, you might want to consider an overbed hospital table like the atHand® Overbed Table System. These tables allow individuals to stay in bed without compromising their quality of life. They include a tray, electrical outlets, USB ports, storage, and so much more.
You should also make sure the home is safe and functional. This could include things like removing furniture with sharp edges, getting rid of rugs, installing grab bars in the tub or next to the toilet, and even installing a ramp to enter the house.
Finally, there are companies that create special buttons for seniors to wear. If something goes wrong, the individual can push that button and an alert is sent to that emergency service system, so they can contact the police, an ambulance, etc. These are all things to consider if someone you love is living alone in their older age.
The Benefits of Aging at Home
If the seniors in your life are adamant about staying in their homes, you’ll probably have a tough time convincing them otherwise. Plus, staying in their own home typically costs less than assisted living, they’ll be more comfortable, and studies have shown it to help slow the advancement of memory loss.
With the right resources, aging in place can be a viable option for many people.