As care becomes a larger concern, many seniors are embracing the concept of aging-in-place. This guide can help you prepare for a more independent future.
What Is Meant by Aging-In-Place?
Many people assume they will eventually have to move into an assisted living facility when they reach their senior years, but there is another segment of the population who are determined to avoid that situation. Instead, they are choosing the option of aging-in-place, which simply means that they plan to remain in their homes throughout their senior years. In some situations, this is impossible. A physical disability or a mental illness may require more help than they can realistically receive at home. Someone with a debilitating illness will need more comprehensive care, which can be provided in an assisted living facility. However, for others, aging-in-place is a real and attractive option.
Even when a senior does suffer a mental and physical decline, they may not need the full-time help of an assisted living facility. In-home care aides can help seniors manage their daily activities to ensure they don’t suffer common slip and fall injuries that result from trying to perform tasks that have become too challenging for them. The home care aide can help with light housework, running errands, preparing meals and attending to other personal care needs. This type of service helps those suffering from mild mental decline or a limited range of physical mobility so they won’t have to leave their homes for a nursing home.
How Can You Prepare for a More Independent Future?
When making the decision to age-in-place, it’s important to create a plan ahead of time. There are several factors you’ll have to address, and this will require trying to anticipate your future needs as best as possible. Here are a few factors to consider when creating your plan.
To begin, it’s important to consider how you will have to modify your home. This may include adding lower shelving in the kitchen and bathroom to ensure you can safely reach food and appliances on your own. You may also need to move your bedroom to the first floor in the event that you become disabled. Installing extra railings in the bathroom and staircases may also be required. Having additional lighting put in will be helpful as well.
While an in-home care aide can help you perform household chores, you should still look for other ways to limit the amount of work you’ll have to do. For example, if your home has two or more stories, you may not need to access the upper floors. If that’s the case, you can close off that part of the home. Once a year, you can hire spring cleaners to give the upper floors some extra attention. Look for other ways to limit the amount of cleaning your home will need.
Your microwave oven, air fryer and other appliances should be kept within easy reach. You should also pay closer attention to the foods you buy. As you get older, it will be more important to eat a healthier diet that’s rich in fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. Your budget should also allow for eating out with friends once or twice a week to give you some variety.
In addition to eating healthy, you should plan other ways to ensure your continued good health. This includes seeing your doctor regularly for checkups. You should try to be active as well. Under the guidance of your doctor, look for ways to add more physical activity to your life. Even some yoga and meditation will be good for your physical and emotional health.
One of the problems seniors face in assisted living facilities is that they tend to withdraw, and their lack of social interaction has adverse effects on their emotional health. Since you won’t have the structured activities that nursing homes provide, it will be up to you to maintain friendships. Pursue hobbies and interests that will help you meet others and remain socially active.
Aging-in-place also requires that you meet your social, financial and healthcare obligations. You should expect to be unable to drive a vehicle at some point in the future. Plan ahead for the ways in which you’ll be able to get around town. If you won’t have family members or friends to give you rides, be sure you have access to buses, taxicabs and other forms of public transportation. Your ability to stay mobile will help you enjoy your life as you age in place.
It’s important to continue growing your retirement wealth, regardless of your plans for your future care needs. While you may not face the upfront costs you would have to pay to an assisted living facility, you will still face similar costs over the long run. In making these plans and estimating your future care costs, you should consider the above factors.