The fact of the matter, when it comes to aging, everyone is going to have to address the issue sooner rather than later, whether it is handling things themselves or for a loved one. To put things in perspective, around 70% of adults over the age of 65 will need long-term care at some point in their lives, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Many children, relatives, and friends may have the noble impulse to try and tackle this issue themselves, but it can be a taxing endeavor in terms of money and time, one that not everyone can meet. As a result, depending on the senior in question, you may want to look into one of several options for their next home.
Considerations on Aging Independently
The thing about aging independently is that in many ways, technology is your friend. You may have heard of improvements like stair lifts and medical alert braces that allow seniors to call for help even if they can’t reach a phone. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are networks now that can actually detect a fall via motion sensors or video, and automatically put in a call to a medical first responder.
If your loved one doesn’t want to leave their home, you’re going to want to consider making some changes that make their current accommodations safer. This can be as simple as a basic rearrangement to make sure that everything is easily within reach and well lit to minimize opportunities to fall. Kitchens and bathrooms are common rooms to take a look at. Sometimes, you may want to go a step further and make the investments in a home health aide. In some cases, seniors have a level of independence, but have one or two tasks that they struggle dealing with, like driving or taking care of a pet. A home health aide does this as a part of their work, while also providing a means to check general welfare if you are far away from your senior loved one.
One thing that often gets ignored when it comes to finding a new place for the senior in your life is the transition. In many cases, if a senior is moving from a home they shared with a family to a smaller, senior-friendly space, there’s going to be some elements of downsizing. Downsizing, in this case, means getting rid of certain items that are unneeded or don’t in the new space. This can be difficult for seniors, both in the emotional sense, and the practical sense. This is why a service dedicated to relocating senior parents or loved ones may be something worth investing in. This is one of many specific senior services designed to help specific needs of the aging community.
What About Cognitive Decline?
A sadder reality is the fact that due to mental reasons, a person may not be able to live on their own, even if they have the physical facilities. Memory care and assisted living may be two means for seniors to stay safe if they are dealing with these conditions.
Assisted living is something that you’ve probably heard of even if you’re not dealing with someone that has dementia. Generally, in these type of facilities, people live in a private studio, private apartment, or a shared apartment, with staff on hand to help. This is a good match for people who want some degree of independence, but may have a physical issue or mid-stage dementia that keeps them from being able to do some of the basic tasks of maintaining a home or living on their own. Many assisted living facilities offer medication management, transport to doctors, and social activities, taking pressure off of the senior’s family.
Memory care is the next step, where dementia becomes so severe that added help is needed. These places provide 24-hour care with staff specifically trained for dementia patients. These areas are often specifically designed to remove things that may contribute to the patient’s stress.
It’s difficult to manage the needs of an aging loved one, and at the end of the day, all we want is for them to be in an environment where they can be comfortable. Having an open discussion when you can and doing your due diligence and research when you can’t is the best way to get an ideal result for all people involved.