Aging In Place > Virginia > Waterford

Aging In Place

The U.S. centers for Disease Control and prevention defines aging in place as the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.

It’s only natural for seniors to want to stay in a familiar setting and surrounded by a community they know and so it comes as no surprise that a recent (2021) AARP survey shows that 3 in every 4 adults ages 50 and older want to remain in the own homes as they age. But everyone’s situation is different and aging in place is not a one size fits all solution to growing older. In all cases, it requires careful consideration and planning to work well.

Advantages of aging in place:

  • For many seniors, the emotional value associated with continuing to live in a familiar setting and in their own community is considerable and helps maintain good mental health and enjoyment of life. Not to be overlooked is the continued companionship of much-loved house pets!
  • Continuing to live at home can support a person’s independence for longer. Help can be introduced to the home gradually as needed without taking away a person’s self-sufficiency in other activities.
  • Aging in place can also be less expensive than moving into assisted living or nursing homes. This is particularly true where good health is maintained and there is no debt associated with the house itself.

Planning for aging in place.

Successful aging in place requires careful planning and this should be done well in advance of when a person finds their normal lifestyle getting restricted by age or chronic illness. It is a good idea for family members and others caring for an older loved one to work with them in the planning process ensuring the person's needs are met and wishes respected. A good aging in place plan will look different for everyone and depends on their particular circumstances, but all should consider three main areas:

  • Costs associated with aging in place and payment.
  • Home modifications.
  • Professional in-home care.

The cost of aging in place.

Aging in place is generally much cheaper than assisted living or skilled nursing facilities but it is not without costs. You will need to budget for the ongoing mortgagee or rent payments, property taxes, utility and phone bills, food and essential purchases, entertainment costs, and transportation amongst other daily and periodic expenses. Balance this against sources of income including savings, social security benefits, retirement income, and pensions to make sure all costs can be adequately covered.

Remember also, that the cost of aging in place is likely to rise over time as the person ages and needs more help and support to stay living safely, and comfortably in the home.

Home modifications.

Modifying the home can have a big impact on the ability to age in place. Simple, inexpensive changes like rearranging furniture, removing tripping hazards, and ensuring bright lighting throughout should be first on the list. Consider non-slip flooring and grab bars in the bathroom and when stairs become problematic a stairlift or creating a downstairs bedroom. Some homes are easier to adapt to an older person’s needs than others, think three-story townhouse vs ranch-style home with bedrooms on the ground floor. Sometimes moving or downsizing to a more elderly-accessible property should be considered.

Professional In-home care.

Advancing age and progressive health conditions can make it increasingly difficult for an older adult to continue to age in place without help. Family and friends will step up the support they provide, but professional help is also often required to fully meet the person's needs. In-home care, or home care, involves qualified caregivers coming to the home on a pre-arranged schedule to provide the services a person needs to continue to live safely and comfortably in the home.

Home care services can be gradually introduced as the person needs them, from a couple of hours a week to help with shopping and light housework to 24hr around-the-clock care.

Commonly Needed Home Care Services

  • Bathing and dressing
  • Morning routine
  • Bedtime help
  • Light housekeeping
  • Companionship
  • Medication reminders
  • Errands and transportation

Aging in place is not the right choice for everyone.

An unsuitable home or home that has fallen into dangerous disrepair, frequent medical emergencies requiring proximity to rapid medical assistance and lack of nearby family, friends and other support systems can all compromise continued living at home. However, with sound advanced planning and by engaging the right help as it is needed, many of these problems can be overcome and most older adults can age in place safety, and with good quality of life.

In-Home Caregivers Serving Waterford, Virginia

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