In Part One of this series about “Aging in Place”, we defined the term as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level”.
Yet the sad truth is that most Americans don’t make a plan to age in place, although they should start thinking about one before they plan to retire. Creating a plan can prevent unexpected events from turning into crises that compromise one’s ability to live independently.
Just as many of us make a plan to go to on a vacation, we should have a plan to age. In planning for a vacation, we know what our destination is, how we’re going to get there, what hotel we’re going to stay in and, for some of us, which restaurants we’re going to eat in.
The focus of aging in place, as we’ve seen, is to help seniors ensure they can live where they choose and get any help they need for as long as they can. It is more than that, though. The goal of an elderly person (or anyone) wanting to age in place should be to maintain and/or improve their quality of life. In order to do that, a good plan that focuses on your quality of life and covers yourself, home, finances, care and other items should be created as early as possible. This plan should be re-evaluated over time as your situation changes.
Aging brings changes to us all. As a person begins their aging in place experience, it is important for them to consider and plan for the changes that will happen to them and what impacts these changes will have on their lives. As we age, our bodies and capabilities change. Examples of changes one might experience are:
- Reduced vision
- Decreased muscle strength or endurance
- Reduced mental processing capabilities
- Increased risk of falls due to balance
- Increased risk of illness
- Reduced hearing
- Decreased mobility
These changes happen to most everyone in one form or another. Knowing that this is the case and choosing to have a plan to age in place means you will have a greater chance to control your quality of life and independence.
The impact of these changes can be seen in the daily life of an elderly person. While their physical capabilities lessen and needs change, this impacts many activities of daily living and other activities, such as:
- Getting around their home as easily
- Driving safely
- Home upkeep
- Health maintenance
Planning also presents you with an opportunity to lessen the burden on your family by outlining how and where your needs are met. Optimal Senior Care Solutions can help you age in place by providing in home care giving services. Caregivers can provide you with assistance with many activities of daily living. We also can provide referrals for many service providers, such as home modification contractors, exercise therapists, physical therapists, and more. So the lesson to be learned here is plan well … but always keep in mind the old Yiddish proverb, “Man plans and God laughs”. So, while you’re at it, don’t forget Plan B (as well as C, D, E, F, etc.)
Till next time.