Discover what aging in place means and how your loved ones can maintain an active, healthy lifestyle in your home for as long as possible
One thing about life is for certain; we are all going to get older. The aging process brings forth new challenges that can create barriers in our lifestyle and hinder our daily routines.
Fortunately, we live in a world with technological advancements and a better understanding of the aging process.
What is Aging In place?
We now have more options to create a safe home environment to successfully age in place. The term “aging in place” means that we can live safely, comfortably, and independently in our homes.
As our health needs increase, we can utilize assistance from local senior agencies.
Assistance can come in many forms; clinical care from a nurse or caregiver, modifications to the home to allow for safe transferring, monitoring systems to keep track of prescription medications, and emergency call systems to get help if we experience a fall and can’t get to the phone.
Fall - The Biggest concern about Aging in place
As the season pass, the risk of falling in our homes rises. As the risk factor climbs, the best course of action to take is preventative.
A simple fall can lead to months or years of recovery and deplete our savings account due to the medical bills.
Additionally, a fall could result in the rapid decline of our physical and cognitive abilities, which could lead to an obligatory transfer into a senior living community.
It’s essential to consult with your physician regularly to monitor your health and avoid health-related mobility issues.
How to Prevent Fall Risks in Older adults?
A proactive approach to your health is a crucial factor in the high quality of life at home. There may be unnoticed, underlying issues that could exacerbate a medical diagnosis.
If you haven’t done so already, establish care with a primary physician who can monitor your health and well-being to keep you on your feet.
1. Remove Trip hazards from home
Another proactive measure we can easily take to reduce the risk for falling is to remove all trip hazards from our home: area rugs, slippery walk-in tubs for seniors, mats, plush bedding, or blankets that hang to the floor
Rearrange the furniture to create a clear walking path, and consider removing lightweight furniture that can easily be tipped over.
2. Call a physical therapist or a doctor
If you’ve had a recent fall and need help creating a safe home environment, call your doctor and request a referral for a home assessment by a physical therapist, or PT.
A physical therapist can provide services to help those with physical impairments regain functional mobility.
They’ll look for environmental barriers and mitigate potential hazards by making recommendations and educating their patients for safe transfers and fall recovery methods.
Your doctor may also prescribe a mobility aid, such as a walker or wheelchair. Your medical insurance may cover a portion of the cost. Be sure to check with your insurance provider to find out what the limitations are
3. Medical Alert Systems
Medical alert systems are available for a monthly or annual fee, depending on the service provider.
In the event of an emergency, a person would press a button on a necklace or bracelet, and the fire department would be dispatched to their home.
The sense of peace knowing that help can be summoned during a medical emergency is priceless. It’s a must-have item for seniors living alone.
As we thrive in our homes, we may take advantage of the medication management resources available.
For some, we may be experiencing cognitive declines, particularly Alzheimer’s or dementia, and we find that it is cumbersome to remember to take our prescription medication.
Forgetful minds can become a safety hazard to ourselves, as the side effects for taking more than the prescribed amount can be toxic or deadly.
Fortunately, there are medication monitoring devices and services available to track consumption. Some of these devices can be purchased on Amazon and delivered right to you.
The med-management tools are helpful because they’re automated to dispense the prescribed pills on a schedule, and they’re equipped with flashing lights and loud beeps to ensure we never miss a dosage.
Some of these pill dispensers range in price from the lower end around $70.00 to the upper end of $500.00.
5. Home-care Agencies
In-home care agencies are a fantastic temporary solution to providing help while recovering from a fall or illness.
They can help with things such as meal preparation, errands, hygiene, housekeeping, and medication reminders. Fees vary based on location, so give your local in-home care agency a call to find out more about the cost.
Proper nutrition is another factor to consider when performing preventative maintenance to our aging process.
The cupboards and refrigerator should be stocked with healthy, easy-to-fix meals and ingredients, and the foods should be labeled with an expiration date.
Form a habit of checking to make sure your ingredients haven’t spoiled before consuming them, as they can often carry harmful bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria.
There are many wonderful recipes available online for free, and they’re great for those with limitations in the kitchen.
If physical limitations or illnesses are a cause for meal preparation burdens, explore the option for meal delivery services
As the adage goes, use it, or lose it, this applies to exercise the mind and body.
As we age in place, it’s critical to our health and safety that we remain active. Researchers have found that exercise for seniors can decrease falls by as much as 23 percent.
This statistic shows that we can thrive in our homes by a continuous effort to stay active.
Check with your local senior center for upcoming events and opportunities to get your body and mind moving, and have fun while you’re at it!
Many seniors enjoy activities such as gardening, swimming, or going for a walk around their neighborhood.
Our ability to thrive as we age in place depends on many things, but ultimately it relies on our diligence to monitor our health.
With the combined efforts from a senior support network of clinical assistance, physical aids, medication management, proper nutrition, and exercise, we can maintain an active, healthy lifestyle and enjoy our golden years the way we want to live.
If this aging in place becomes too much to bear, have comfort in knowing that our community provides a variety of resources for the elderly, and they’re always willing to lend a hand.