|If your loved one wants to age in place, look for resources to help.|
Aging in place may necessitate changes to the home itself, monitoring for safety, and an increased need for support in order to ensure health and quality of life while maintaining independence.
While many seniors reject the idea of a monitoring system, this advanced technology can provide peace of mind, and safety for those aging in place, as well as their loved ones and caregivers. Consider home monitoring, alert pendants, and other monitoring tools.
According to studies, the presence of Family Caregivers helps seniors age in place longer, improve medical adherence, improve health and quality of life, reduce doctor and ER visits, and increase completion of legal and healthcare documents. Thus, if your senior loved one wants to age in place, having family caregivers providing support is key. However, often family caregivers have their own families, careers, and other responsibilities. Using other support to help the elderly loved one live at home can lift the burden and ease the mind. Consider support such as home delivered meals (Meals of Wheels, or other programs), visitation and socialization programs (ElderFriends), transportation, and the like. A little support can go a long way.
A Safe Home
Home design can greatly impact the safety and comfort of a senior aging in place. Often homes need to be remodeled to accommodate senior needs. If remodeling or building new, use a builder specializing in aging in place. And be sure to consider which home modifications will have the greatest impact for safety and convenience.
Consider the following:
Green interior: This will make it less expensive to age in place. Include things like energy efficient shower heads, and the like.
Natural light: This reduces the risk of falls, improves comfort, and reduces utilities.
Improved mobility: Eliminate stairs when possible, make everything wheelchair accessible, use nonslip flooring, bright lighting, and reduce faill hazards such as cords and rugs.
Ease of living: Install levered faucets, easy grip cabinet and drawer hardware, grab bars, bathroom benches, elevated toilet seats, and other simple tools that can make using the home easier and safer.
Safety and security: Install a monitoring system, smoke detectors with strobe lights for the hard of hearing, and the like.
Technology: Phones with amplifiers, automatic medication dispensers, motion sensors to alert family if a loved one gets out of bed at night. These are all great additions to the home, and can increase safety.
Sometimes a few upgrades can make a home more senior friendly, and other times many upgrades are needed. This can be costly, so ask your electric and gas provider if you qualify for an energy audit, rebates or other programs to help offset the cost of upgrades. And remember, prevention is almost always less expensive than the cost of accident, injury, and poor health.
If your loved one wants to age in place, look for resources to help. One great option is the recently released book, “Aging In Place: 5 Steps to Designing a Successful Living Environment for Your Second Half of Life” which can be found on Amazon. This book was written by Aaron Murphy, owner of ADM Architecture, and Managing Editor at EmpoweringTheMatureMind.com. Murphy has been speaking and teaching on the subject of "Aging in Place" for 4 years, both locally and at a national level. He writes about designing a home to improve the future, allowing seniors to stay in their homes and communities and remain happy, healthy, and safe while doing so. He addresses the need to accommodate 78 million baby boomers turning 65 years old at a rate of 10,000 every day for the next 18 years. He asserts that good design and planning can accomplish a successful outcome and more affordable way to age in place.
For more information about ADM Architecture, Empowering the Mature Mind, and Mr. Murphy's book visit www.EmpoweringTheMatureMind.com
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About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visithttp://www.caregiverpartnership.com to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.