Modern seniors have more options than ever when it comes to staying mentally and physically active while they age and doing so on their own terms, in their own homes and in communities of their choosing. All of this, commonly referred to as “aging in place,” is great for humanity, but it is accompanied by the need to be realistic about planning and pitfalls. Below are 4 tough considerations to make while aging in place.
Long Term Care
Ageing in place is more possible than ever, as governments and communities around the world expand services and infrastructure for older adults who want to continue living and thriving in the places where they worked, raised families and shared memories with friends and fellow community members. Ageing in place comes with a wide range of mental and physical health benefits, and it makes perfect sense that seniors want to do so for as long as possible. However, making arrangements for long-term care, including thinking seriously about long-term care insurance, is part of prudent and responsible old age and retirement planning.
Successful ageing in place requires being able to foresee some of the potential hazards of living alone while growing older. These include falling hazards around the home that can cause serious injury to elderly people. In addition to making sure your home has the right lighting, balance and support systems around stairs, doorways and bathrooms, and that the floor is always free of potential injury hazards, there are various other steps older adults can take to make their homes ageing in place-friendly.
Part of growing older means accepting that senses are not as sharp as they used to be. Sight, hearing, touch and reaction speeds all decrease with age but, with some planning, all of these changes are easily accounted and compensated for.
Another consideration to make while ageing in place concerns how you or a senior loved one will get around as they get older. Mobility refers to both ambulatory and driving concerns. Limitations to movement and physicality are part of growing older, but older adults must also face the reality of eventually losing their ability to drive an automobile at a certain point. Concerning the former, ageing in place best practices often dictate that homes should be made accessible and senior-friendly well before the point that a person actually requires things like handrails, ramps and other mobility devices.
With respect to the latter, while many seniors are able to continue to safely drive a vehicle into their 80s, this is not always the case. The loss of one’s ability to drive means other arrangements must be made in order to continue do everyday things like get to appointments, go grocery shopping and visit with friends and family. All considerations to make while navigating the ups and downs of ageing in place.
Aging in place also means recognizing the heightened safety concerns and vulnerability that come with being on one’s own as a senior. It is a hard fact of life that to be old, while also being wiser and more experienced, also means accepting one’s physical limitations. These physical limitations mean that personal safety is a more pressing issue.
Seniors are, unfortunately, often targets for criminals and making your home safer as you age is part of good ageing in place planning. Following home security best practices while ageing in place is crucial to avoid being taken advantage of.
Growing old in the comfort of one’s home, in the community one has come to know and feel a part of throughout their adult life is ideal for most elderly people. With many communities recognizing the importance of ageing in place to mentally and physically healthy older adulthood, there are more opportunities than ever for seniors to enjoy independent living well into their golden years. Keep the above ageing in place considerations in mind for yourself and any senior loved ones in your life and make growing older enjoyable, safe and well-thought-out.