Aging in Place

aging in place
Aging in Place is a term used to describe individuals who prefer to grow old in a familiar place while remaining as healthy as possible physically, emotionally, and mentally – with or without assistance. In a nutshell, it is growing old in your own home, which is an idea that is favored by most Americans today.

Aging in place stems from aging services dating back as far as the 1600s. Back then, relatives took over the care, and in the absence of relatives living close by, neighbors and local churches would pitch in and help. Eventually, the government would step in when care was insufficient or when all other options run out.

By the mid-1600s, there were government facilities that would assume responsibility or private organizations and churches that would get tax relief for housing the aging. Then it changed by mid 1900 with the Social Security Act that provides for old age needs through retirement benefits and the Older Americans Act that offered more benefits for America’s aging generation.

Today Aging in Place has much to do with the need to be independent and safe while at home which, is a situation that is not always possible among seniors without professional help. Here’s why:

• Poor nutrition – “After my wife died and after 50 years of marriage, all I feel like eating is a can of soup for dinner.”

• Poor mobility – “I have a difficult and sometimes painful time climbing stairs to get to my bedroom.”

• Emotional attachment – “The house should stay as it is because that is what I am familiar with regardless whether it’s cramped and full of items I don’t need or use.”

Tips on Planning to Age in Place

#1 You must have a point person you can trust and rely on. This person should be able to handle your health, finances, and overall wellbeing. He or she should also follow your instructions and never be condescending towards you because you are a senior. Additionally, this person should also participate in problem-solving, especially in solving health issues, and bring the concern to the proper health professional before it gets worse.

#2 Health is wealth. Consider investing in a professional nurse to come in once or twice a week to help you with your nutritional and other physical needs. A nurse can more easily understand doctor’s instructions, follow their instructions properly, and be accountable as a professional.

#3 Have the nurse and the trusted individual come in to help you organize your home, so it is more accessible, less cluttered, and organized. There may be some changes necessary like placing a holding bar in the shower, adding non-slip mats for the bathroom, kitchen sink, garage, and non-slip strips for stairs.

#4 Learn more about the existing scams that target seniors and the elderly – and there are many. Be careful about private details, check bills and statements, and always talk to someone you trust implicitly about money and requests for funds from others.

Some of the government agencies that offer assistance to seniors are Medicare, Department of Veterans Affairs, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modifications.