One of the newer options for adults in their older years is called aging in place. This option can provide positive results for both the aging adult and his or her family.
Why Aging in Place Works
There are several factors that remain the same even as the person grows older. People who have lived independently throughout life often cherish the freedom independence brings. This love of freedom often causes seniors to resist moving to an assisted living facility or nursing home. The senior does not want the restrictions that living environment places on his time or activities and does not desire constant supervision.
One of the beauties of aging in place is that the elderly individual continues to enjoy independence. Restrictions are limited to those necessary for the person’s well-being or health. Maintaining his independence increases his personal dignity.
A second benefit is that seniors enjoy familiar settings. If a senior owns his home or has resided in the same apartment for an extended period, he is often more comfortable in those familiar surroundings. Some seniors have special pets or important possessions they want to keep.
If health permits, seniors should not be forced to give up all that is familiar to them. Doing so robs the senior of a sense of pride in possessions and home and breaks a loving bond with a pet. By aging in place, the senior retains everything he finds familiar.
Moving a healthy senior to a nursing facility is often traumatic for him. He may lose his sense of taking an active role in his life and instead begin worrying about death and dying, leading to a major depressive episode. For many aging adults, aging in place is the best option for both mental and physical health. Seniors maintain a sense of control over their own destiny when they remain at home.
Aging in Place is Not Without Problems
Aging in place is not the right choice for all seniors, due to the physical changes that sometimes occur. The aging process brings problems that seniors did not experience in their younger years.
Forgetfulness is often an issue with older people. The seriousness of the problem ranges from forgetting to feed a pet or forgetting to take medications. Some seniors begin to forget to turn off burners, lock doors or other safety issues. When seniors live alone, such forgetfulness can be serious.
The aging process can also bring about frailty. Even though a senior remains healthy, he loses strength, becomes less limber and has slower reflexes than a young adult. These changes increase the risk of accidents and fall during normal activity.
The isolation of living alone can also lead some senior adults to issues with mental health. Without nearby family members or friends, loneliness can be an issue. With no one to visit or listen, it is easy for the senior to become depressed.
Sedentary lifestyles are also possible problems for the elderly. While they might seem happy reading or watching TV all day, regular physical activity is a requirement for staying healthy.
Families of seniors are often greatly concerned about these issues. Some family members become so worried about these potential problems, they are unsure aging in place provides a good option. Such family members often consider a nursing facility as the best alternative for safety.
Aging in Place Safely
Home care provides a great solution to the potential problems associated with aging in place. With home care, seniors enjoy their older years while remaining safe and healthy.
Home care aids help to eliminate many of these problems. The aide can complete many tasks to ensure the senior’s safety. The aide might tidy the home, cook meals, provide assistance with bathing, secure windows and doors and perform many other tasks.
The home care aide also helps to resolve issues with loneliness. Nonmedical aids provide a good companion for the individual. Seniors enjoy the companionship and are less likely to feel alone. The client and aide can enjoy their time together, sing, play games and read aloud.
Home care aides are trained in the kinds of activities that are suitable for the senior. When clients are able to take walks or follow exercise routines at home, such regular exercise helps to strengthen muscles and limbs. Regular exercise also provides a positive benefit on the person’s mental health.
Hiring a nonmedical home care aide helps to eliminate many of the family’s worries. With the assistance of the aid, the elderly family member continues enjoying the benefits of life at home while eliminating the risks of living alone.
Each Senior Is Unique
The aging process affects seniors differently, so it is impossible to develop a one size fits all program. This means fewer seniors require nursing home care but also means programs should be customized to match the senior’s preferences, personality, and needs.
For aging in place to work, it is essential to match the senior with a home care aide who is a good fit. The senior enjoys a better experience and families see better results when the aide and senior adult are compatible.
Just because you are growing older does not mean you must give up all that is familiar. By finding a compatible home care aide, your senior can enjoy more healthy years at home. This provides positive benefits and allows seniors to retain their independence. The result is a happy individual who is also safe.