When you think of your parents’ house, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe something like the slight squeak that an old staircase used to make? Perhaps a cherished memory, like sitting down with friends and family to enjoy Thanksgiving, or even a simple Friday night dinner?
For your senior parents, their home is likely full of these memories and sentimental connections – lots of little things here and there that add up to a powerful, emotional whole. After all, living in the same home for years, perhaps decades, is a meaningful experience, tied up in some truly deep emotions.
For older adults, it can be hard to give up on the space where they raised their family, settled down, and made their most precious memories.
Perhaps this is why one prominent poll found that nearly 90% of older adults want to age in place at home, for as long as possible.
Aging In Place: What Does It Mean?
For seniors, aging in place is about getting the chance to enjoy their golden years in the comfort and safety of home – rather than uprooting their lives to move into an expensive institutionalized care facility. Aging in place has been shown to come with countless benefits for seniors. It’s significantly more affordable and convenient than assisted living, and has been shown to help seniors maintain their independence, strengthen their social bonds, improve their health and quality of life, and remain active and engaged in their communities.
Still, as a loving son or daughter, it can be intimidating to think about your older parent staying at home as they age. Difficult questions and long conversations are sure to come up:
Is my loved one healthy enough to live alone?
What happens if something goes wrong, or they have an accident?
Will my senior parent be able to make friends and be social?
Asking questions like these is only natural – and it’s an important first step in getting your aging loved one the support and care they deserve! There are all sorts of ways to determine if your loved one is healthy enough to age in place, and assess their long-term care needs. Finding the right course of action for your family is ultimately going to come down to your unique circumstances – from your loved one’s health needs, to your preferences and goals as a family caregiver.
If you’re considering helping a senior loved one age in place, one good starting point may be to brainstorm some small changes that can help make growing old at home easier, safer, and more enjoyable. Need some inspiration? Here are five manageable, practical choices that can help seniors age in place with confidence:
1.) Bring On Help With Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
Over time, seniors may experience difficulties with tasks that they used to take for granted, from sitting and standing on their own, to grooming and bathing, to doing housekeeping and chores. These everyday actions are known activities of daily living, or ADLs.
For older adults, keeping up with ADLS can prove more difficult due to any number of physical or mental changes. If your loved one is having trouble with one or more ADLs, an experienced caregiver may be able to step in and help. Available on a flexible schedule that works for your seniors’ needs, a professional senior caregiver can provide thoughtful, empowering assistance with routine ADLs, such as:
- Sitting and standing
- Using the bathroom
- Cooking and eating meals
- Cleaning and doing housework
- Doing laundry
A senior caregiver or companion can provide as much or as little assistance as needed to help your older loved one live safely and independently. They can help with those intimate everyday tasks that may make you uncomfortable as a family member, or step in every now and then, when you need time back to focus on other things.
2.) Look Into Driving Services
Hanging up the car keys can be a difficult transition for many seniors. Many older adults feel like being unable to drive is a hard check on their freedom and independence. Not being able to drive can also be somewhat limiting for seniors, making it more difficult to attend community events or family gatherings, or even run errands or make it to doctor’s appointments on time.
A senior companion can help offer transportation services, empowering your elderly loved one to…
- Attend key appointments
- Run important errands
- Go on outings and adventures
- Connect with their community
… All while being supported by a friendly, considerate caregiver who can help carry bags, load the vehicle, and assist the senior with getting in and out of the car safely.
3.) Consider Switching to Delivery Services
When it comes to helping seniors age in place, there are more services and solutions out there than ever before. Take a little time to look into local ways to help streamline your loved one’s everyday tasks. For instance? You may be surprised by how many delivery services there are in your area, available to help drop off food, provide supplies, or pick up laundry for housebound seniors. Similarly, there are many medical providers, from dentists to physical therapists, who may specialize in stopping by and performing “house calls” for senior patients who have difficulty making it to appointments in the office.
4.) Make Being Social a High Priority
One way to help your senior loved one thrive as they age in place? Focus on helping them connect with others and build strong social relationships.
Loneliness and social isolation are major health problems for senior adults in this country. Taking some time now to help your loved one develop strong social bonds can lead to some truly positive effects, including increased longevity, lower rates of stress and anxiety, improved happiness and satisfaction, and even lower rates of chronic pain and illness.
There are all sorts of ways to help your senior loved one foster these important social relationships! One effective solution can be to help them connect with a senior companion. In addition to providing support with ADLs and transportation, a companion is a friendly face and a trusted confidant, someone your loved one can get to know as they spend quality time playing games, going on outings, or sharing meals together.
You may also want to encourage your loved one to reach out to their friends and family, and pursue ways of meeting new people, like:
- Volunteering in the community
- Joining a local club or activity group
- Taking classes
- Joining a fitness group
- Setting up a game night or potluck
- Getting involved at a senior or community center
- Joining a faith-based community at a local church or temple
5.) Add Safety Modifications Around the Home
In order to help your loved one age in place, it’s important to make sure their chosen “place” is safe, secure, and comfortable. Fortunately, there are all sorts of projects you and your loved one can take up around the house to make it safer for seniors – from small weekend tasks, to major renovation or remodeling jobs. Here are a few easy ideas to get your list started:
- Get rid of excess clutter and help your loved one purge things
- Clean regularly to get rid of dust, mold, and other allergens
- Add bright, clear lighting throughout the home
- Replace front stairs with an accessible ramp
- Widen doorways
- Rearrange furniture to create a clear, easy walking path
- Add handrails and supports in hallways and on staircases
- Safely throw out expired food and medications
- Add grab bars, non-slip mats, and other safety features to the bathroom
- Rearrange your loved one’s home so their master bedroom is on the ground floor
How Companions for Seniors Can Help Your Loved One Age In Place
Are you a supportive family member of an aging adult, looking to help your loved one age in place? Have you started to explore options for long-term care, but are unsure of where to go next?
If you need any guidance on putting a senior care plan into action, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Companions for Seniors.
Here at Companions for Seniors, our mission is to empower seniors to live independently and with dignity in the comfort of their own homes by helping them to lead an active and enriched lifestyle, connecting them with their community, and nurturing meaningful relationships.
Our Companions are trained, bonded, and insured, and our team can help your family to develop and implement a personalized care plan, all to help seniors and their family caregivers maintain a higher quality of life – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Caring for others isn’t just what we do; it’s our passion. We’re always here to be an open and sympathetic ear, and we’re happy to help guide you in the right direction.
Have any questions? Ready to start thinking seriously about helping your loved one age in place? Reach out today with our handy online form, or give us a call at 866-910-9020 to get the conversation started!