Keys to Aging in Place

Aging is Part of Living

First and foremost, we all know that every one of us is an individual with preferences, likes, dislikes, and abilities. We are as different from one another as the colors in the rainbow. Yet, we are alike in so many ways. One of those ways, if we are lucky enough to experience it, is that we all age. Aging is part of the journey for each of us, no matter how long our adventures last. Think about it. We immediately begin aging after we take in our very first breath. Aging in place can be a challenge if we are unprepared.

Even though we were born with our own individual fingerprints, it seems there is a trend to age us all the same way. Seniors have been lumped into the same aging statistics, surveys, and forms for years. The latest studies say most of us prefer to age in place but there’s a push to tell us where to live.

How to decide?

Those places seem very favorable to some, but very generic to others. There are articles and blogs telling us it’s in our best interest to live here or move there. Seniors are advised to give everything away, sell everything, or store everything for a rainy day. There are suggestions for retirement, living independently and living dependently. And about living on cruise ships until you’ve had your fill of the salty sea air! But what if those suggestions are not what we want to do? What’s the best way to get through the noise and make our own decisions when it comes to this aging process?

It’s only in knowing the options that we become empowered to age in the way we’d prefer. We need to become informed individuals so that aging independently means what we want it to mean. We think aging should be up to us, designed by us and encompass that which we love and enjoy. Do you agree? We thought you would. So, let’s dig into some of the basics.

Aging in Place

According to the 2017 Aging in Place Survey by Home Advisor, there are some interesting results about whether or not aging Americans want to age in place. “Here’s something that isn’t a surprise: No one really knows what aging in place means or how it is relevant to their life…” aging in place” is one of those industry terms that just didn’t quite hit home with the average person. But, as you’ll see, even though people didn’t warm up to the phrase, the idea is taking off.”

Forever Home stated that Home Advisor was curious about the term “aging in place.” They wanted to know what, if anything, people were doing to prepare their own spaces and homes for their aging process. Home Advisor surveyed homeowners between the ages of 55 years old and 75 years old.

Key Findings

Home Advisor reported its survey results here. Apparently, home improvement is foundational in protecting a person’s desire to live out their lives in their own home. As Forever Home relayed in its article, the percentage of persons with an understanding of the term ‘aging in place’ is lower than anticipated. Amongst the results, they found that almost half of the older homeowners expect to make improvements to their own homes. Less than 30% reported difficulty in getting around their homes at the time of the survey.

For so many Seniors, although they are not familiar with the catchphrase “aging in place,” it is precisely what they want. It is what they intend to do. The best possible foundation for living out those years safely and comfortably at home is awareness. Being aware of the challenges of our possible future limitations against our homes’ current ones, and addressing those issues, is paramount. Because, well for so many of us,  there’s no place like home.

The Aging in Senior Housing Option

Unless of course, there is another place like it! Many Seniors are discovering that “home” isn’t necessarily where their house is, but where their lives could be! That moves us to the Senior Housing options in 2019. Well, just a small sampling of them as there are many to choose from across the country.

Oasis Senior Advisors report on 7 Types of Senior Housing Options in a February 28, 2019 article, in which they report a little on each of them from retirement communities to independent living. Oasis states that Independent living can “offer the perfect solution for those who do not necessarily need the in-depth, one-on-one support of an assisted living community.” They continued “It is also appropriate for those who want or need minor help with various day-to-day activities.”

Active with Options

That pretty well sums it up. If a person is still active, desires to manage their affairs, independent living within an independent community might be the perfect answer.  Imagine being able to travel without all the concerns of a homeowner (trash day, utility bills, etc.)

From respite care to memory care units, from independent to traditional retirement communities, senior housing options have evolved in the past decade. It might take a little effort to consider what the needs are, what the costs are, and what the benefits are. But, once the research is done, it is quite possible to find the perfect spot wherein to reside.

Aging Well

‘Aging Well’ is a phrase that has slowly and steadily crept into the conversation about aging in America. Baby Boomers are more determined to age better than their predecessors to age well. They aren’t willing to give up one day of their lives to aging inconveniences if they don’t have to. Aging Well is considered the best choice, the most informed way to age.

Some actually call aging, well, an art! Take the website Art of Aging Well that is all about information to make the aging journey easier for its users. There are dozens of well-written articles related to the aging process, including relationships, travel, housing, and working in later years. And this website was created to help others on their aging journey.

A simple search!

Take a minute and search ‘products to help age well.’  That search will show you results about everything from 13 Foods to Help you Age Gracefully from the Food Network to the US News Secrets to Aging Well. Readers Digest will tell you which foods to eat to sleep better, and CBS News has a blog about 10 smart home features to help you age in place.

Those aging in America today have access to more resources, ideas, information, and assistance than at any other time in our history. Perhaps with 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every single day in this country, the need for these bits of help have finally ensured their existence? Or, maybe Boomers are aging better, live younger, and are creating some of these resources themselves?  Either way, aging well has become a reasonable, expected process. There’s no sign that this expectation will do anything other than strengthen in the coming years.

Aging Safely; Which Shouldn’t be Optional

If aging well is the target, and the resources are readily available, why does aging safely seem to be an afterthought? Even if a person has worked diligently to create a healthy, money-wise environment in which to grow old, but they haven’t addressed their safety, everything they have strategized could be ruined in one unfortunate incident.

Take falling, for example; the Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 25% of our senior population experiences a fall every year. They also report that fall death rates increased by 30% from 2007 to 2016.

Start of Care Home Health blogged 100 tips to aging Safely in 2019. Some of those tips include: declutter your home, install grab bars in the bathrooms, and remove or secure throw rugs. It’s suggested you don’t leave your house key under the front door rug. They advise if you leave your house, even for a short time, don’t leave a note outside saying as much. They suggest not leaving your clothes dryer running when you are sleeping or gone. Another tip is to consider buying a personal medical alert system. That tip might need to be at the top of their list!

Catastrophic Falls

The chart shows the increase in the fall death rates in the U.S. from 2007 to 2016 for older adults. The left side of the graph shows death rates per 100,000 people and the bottom lone shows the years in increments of one from 2007 to 2016. Text reads "If death rates continue to rise we can anticipate 7 Fall Deaths every hour by 2030.

In 2017, the average time an unaccompanied Senior lay on the ground waiting for help was eighteen hours. Eighteen Hours! Imagine not being able to stand up, reach a phone, or call for help out loud. Imagine not being able to get help for such a long period. Eighteen minutes could be excruciating. Seniors discovered on the floor in less time than the average develope such intense physical impairments that they were never able to return home. Even ground level falls can cause disability and death.

In an instant, the aging in place goal was wiped away because they hadn’t put measures into place to keep themselves safe. They had no way to receive help when they needed it. PERS or Personal Emergency Response Systems save lives every day in America. This is one simple measure that shouldn’t be overlooked. And some systems are amazing in their advanced technology.

What to look for

When searching for that emergency response system be sure to look for one with the following features:

  • 24/7 monitoring
  • medication reminders
  • medical concern button
  • 24/7 customized activity detection
  • personal messaging
  • GPS location services
  • Family Caregiver App
  • 24/7 in-home medical professional availability

Electronic Caregiver leads the industry in features, reasonable pricing, and quality customer services. And Electronic Caregiver won’t ever lock you into a long-term contract. Your resources are almost as precious as your independence. At Electronic Caregiver Inc., we protect both.

The Keys to Aging in Place are Individualization, Independence, and Information

In conclusion,  the keys to successful aging in place are defining preferences, resources, and abilities. Gather information and create a plan. There are more options available to Seniors today than ever before in our history. Aging in place requires becoming informed, strategizing, and being self-aware. It also should include making those desires known to family members and significant others. That way, on the days when life is a bit more challenging, there’s assistance for staying on track.

The good news about aging in place

The good news is that aging well is not only possible but through practical planning, very achievable. Know your options, learn from others, talk about it with loved ones, and most importantly plan for safety on the journey. Be where you call home, love your environment, and make the necessary plans to enjoy it for years and years to come.

 

aging in place mounttain top view

 “Getting old is like climbing a mountain; you get a little out of breath, but the view is much better!”  ~Ingrid Bergman

 

2019-08-08T11:13:39-06:00