Most surveys find that adults (of all ages) would rather age in place than settle on an assisted living community. To live independently as they grow older. It is a no-brainer that this is what seniors (those that are over 65) want.
What’s also important to them is that they are able to do as they please, socialize with friends & family, and feel contentment. Nobody wants to feel like a burden on others. Theprimary concern is to have sufficient money to fulfill their basic needs and stop worrying about the bills each month.
To help our elder loved ones make all those desires possible, family caregivers may have to make some early decisions and plan accordingly.
According to the Census Bureau, by 2030, the number of seniors residing in their own home could be over 68 million!
Our seniors are going to need our help if we intend to help them live the way they want to live.
In their own home.
Seniors Help Seniors to Stay In-Home
Other seniors can play an important role in helping seniors stay in the home. While they may be independent most like to stay socially active. They also like to be on top of what happens in their community.
Capitol Hill Village in Washington was formed to attain this goal. At this thriving community seniors work together to help each other.
They volunteer to provide transportation, home repair or maintenance. They also go out of their way to help with socialization (like book clubs), trips, gardening and basic friendships.
They assist each other in areas where they possess skills like tech support or repairs…and they ask each other before outsourcing even the simplest task. They not only get help on a task that might not be possible to handle on their own, but also they get the chance to help others. This allows the lifestyle to be fulfilling for them while also being able to remain independent themselves.
This is only one example of community living seniors who are providing support to each other in order to help be able to live in a place they like.
It Takes a Village
Many seniors help their peers by volunteering to assist homebound seniors. They deliver meals as part of a planned program such as Meals on Wheels.
Seniors residing in NORCS (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) throughout the country group together to offer help. It is likely that 27% of seniors presently live in a NORC.
They can help out with referrals for services, teaching, maintenance, transportation and socializing.
To Stay at Home Basic Renovation Might Be Needed
For many seniors it isn’t quite enough to have a support of a network of friends or fellow senior residents. They will require home renovations and remodeling to be able to stay in their homes, something which they cannot get done on their own.
Often it is a good idea for caregivers to help seniors plan in advance of future needs in a home. Assess if the home needs repairs, modifications in hallway (or doorway) size, steps in showers, ramps & handrails, upgraded appliances, improved lighting, and more.
If your senior has to remodel their home to make their lives easier as they age or if their movement has become restricted, it might be the right time to consider what technological innovations can be set up. Innovations like connected home, safety measures or security cameras.
Family Support to Make Home Improvements
Family caregivers are usually the ones to make necessary home improvements to aid in making the home more conducive to aging parents.
In a recent report published by Home Advisor, it is said that more than one half of home renovations for aging associated items is done by people who are younger than 65 and 10% of them are younger than 50. Approximately 70% of ALL home remodeling includes aging-related improvements.
When the renovations are complete, more than half inquire about home automation assistance, like security systems and thermostats. 14% put in assistive technology for ease of use, including automatic drop down kitchen shelving, and 10% install in-home health monitoring as well as fall monitoring technology.
Because innovations and techniques constantly change, caregivers and seniors may need to find home remodelers who can provide the essential aging-in-place resources and knowledge.
The Home Advisor report stated that two thirds of the contractors don’t know the term ‘universal design’ and 72% of them don’t have the materials to make aging in place improvements to begin with.
The most common projects include installing grab bars, ramps and setting up a personal alert system….however there is much more available that can help seniors live safely and independently.
Communicating to Stay Connected
The number one concern of caregivers, with regard to seniors aging in place, is isolation. They worry that their seniors are cut off from society and may not be having the interaction that can improve their health, especially at this vulnerable time in their lives.
A way to help our senior loved ones stay connected with others is by introducing them to social media technology. Online interaction with family, friends and new contacts with common interests has been proven to be very beneficial to seniors.
Social media connections can also assist our seniors with important information if there is an emergency. They can get news updates, shelter information and safety measures in the case of a storm or other emergency.
Moreover, seniors can use social networking to call out for help. In case of an emergency, a connected neighbor might be able to provide immediate assistance to someone in distress.
Interacting Through Social Networking
According to a report of Pew Research in 2010, only 28% of people know their neighbor by name.
Technology can be much more than just keeping Facebook wall photos up to date! Seniors can search for neighbors through community sponsored social media sites and link with public safety agencies.
Caregivers can assist seniors age-in-place by helping them to find the right housing site, update their home to include universal design elements, purchase essential technology or make them familiar with social media.
Staying connected as much as possible both physically and socially is something that we all need.