In Part 1 of this series we defined Aging in Place as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.” In subsequent posts we explored various factors in regard to this subject, including the importance of planning, emerging assistive technology which addresses the needs and concerns of seniors, their caretakers and their families which includes a rapidly growing number of options to help you not only stay in the home you cherish but to continue to enjoy it and, in so doing, improve the quality of life as well.
Last, but certainly not least, we explored the many benefits that Aging in Place confers on senior citizens. To briefly recapitulate. these include:
Maintaining independence. For many adults the loss of independence feels infantilizing and disempowering; aging in place preserves peoples’ independence, allowing them to reserve the right to eat dinner at 3pm or 11pm, to take a walk after breakfast, go see a movie in the middle of the day, and feel in control of their own lives.
Socialization. In short, this implies being close – not only to their home and possessions, but also to family, friends, and activities. Individuals who age in place can have visitors whenever they wish (instead of at prescribed times only) and keep beloved pets; in situations where one member of a couple is healthier or more mobile than the other, the two can remain together.
Maintaining routines. Drastic changes in routine are distressing to most people, especially those who may have had the same schedule and habits for 50 or more years. Aging in place is less disruptive because it may only involve a few smaller changes unlike a move to a new place with new people and a new schedule.
Safety. Those who have lived in their own homes for a considerable length of time are familiar with the act of maneuvering around in their home. When we’ve lived in one place for a long period of time, we develop a “repetitive routine of use,” as it’s called. When that routine is disrupted accidents, such as tripping and falling, become more likely.
Health. This includes the avoidance of institution-acquired infections; the prevention of “Relocation Stress” (a set of symptoms and outcomes that result from a transfer of an older adult from a familiar to an unfamiliar environment); and, preserving brain function.
In the remainder of this post, I would like to discuss a heretofore unexplored benefit of Aging in Place: savings. According to research conducted by the National Aging in Place Council, care can cost on average $86,000 annually per person in a nursing home, $60,000 for someone in assisted living and $23,000 for someone aging in place at home. Indeed, there are those who argue that aging in place is the solution to the sustainability of Medicare and Medicaid, and that if enough people could be taught to age in place, and it’s available to them, it can significantly bolster the sustainability and strength of the Medicaid and Medicare program. Thus, it becomes a win-win for the individuals and the society as a whole.
Medicaid pays, on average, $150 a day for nursing home care but people without Medicaid could be paying as much as $200 or $300. Assisted living costs an average of $200 per day, and live-in nurses can cost thousands per month. Aging in place can be a more affordable and, as we have seen, an overall healthier alternative.
Instead of moving seniors to nursing homes or assisted living facilities, it’s been suggested that communities actively pursue the practice of Elder Care by allowing their seniors to affordably age in place through instituting community resources and programs thus bringing community services directly to their senior population. To make aging in place work, these communities must have mixed-age residents and a network of skilled professionals, family and volunteers whose care can help seniors avoid entering long-term care facilities and which can assist seniors and neighborhoods where the infrastructure accommodates those with less mobility.
Optimal Senior Care Solutions can help you or those seniors in your family age in place by providing in-home care giving services. Our caregivers routinely provide seniors with assistance with many activities of daily living. We also can provide referrals for many service providers, such as home modification contractors, reverse mortgages, exercise therapists, physical therapists, veteran’s home care, and more. Contact us today to learn more.