Thursday, January 5, 2017

Aging in Place, the Lifestyle Trend for 2017

"Aging in place" has become such a common term and lifestyle strategy that there is now a National Aging in Place Council!  The idea of being able to stay in one's home for as long as is feasible is certainly no surprise and is very understandable.  So, just how does one do this in the most efficient, well thought out manner?  
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Typically, your choices for elder care include:  family, senior living facilities, or remaining at home , aka "aging in place".   According to the AARP "87 percent of adults age 65+ want to stay in their current home and community as they age".  What is important to know is that this trend is more than just making the decision to stay home vs. moving to a senior community.  There are a variety of factors that should be considered  before making the final decision.  

1.  What are your physical, mental and emotional states?  Although you may currently be able to say that all systems are operating at 90%  or better on most days, what does the future hold for you?  While not trying to focus on the negative, it is essential that you look down the road in this regard.  Being able to plan for future events will pay off as you age.

2.  Following in line with #1, does your doctor have a strong opinion on this?  If you have not visited your primary care physician in a while, now may be the time to do so.  Doing so will allow you to make any appropriate adjustments necessary to continue living where you are.  

3.  What is the condition of your home?  Consider your doctor's advice, as well as carefully assess your home to determine what adjustments will be necessary.  Again, you will need to look a bit beyond your current state of health, and consider how things may change for you in the future.  Your home may be cluttered with unnecessary items which, in turn, may pose safety hazards.  A senior move manager will be able to help you get your home to a suitable condition for your age in place plans.  

4.  Technology.  There are some great technological tools available to you, designed specifically for those who would like to age in place.  These range from the low-tech (grabbers, magnifiers and grab bars) to higher-tech (including in-home health monitoring devices) devices.   
5.  Actually visit some of the local senior communities in your area.  Ask for a tour, or drop in on an open house.  Make an effort to speak with residents, asking them not only whether or not they like the facility, but also inquire about their "journey" -- how did they arrive at the decision to move there?  Does the monthly activities calendar look interesting?  Or are the activities nothing more than what you are currently doing?

6.  Speak with your family and listen to their thoughts.  Although you may not want to hear what they have to say, rest assured that they only have your best interests, health and safety in mind.  Respect that they may not be able to take care of you if there are physical or  medical needs now or as time goes on.

Regardless of whether you decide to age in place, move in with a family member or move into a senior community, having a plan of action will be helpful in guiding you as you proceed forward.