5 Questions to Ask About Aging in Place

By March 2, 2016Aging in Place
Grandmother and granddaughter using tablet

More than ever before, seniors are opting to age in place. By doing so, they are able to age comfortable and happily in a space they are comfortable and relaxed in. By asking a few questions, seniors and their loved ones can evaluate if aging in place is the best option for them.

1. How safe is the senior’s home?

First, it’s critical to assess the senior’s home. Is it safe and livable for the foreseeable future? If a senior can no longer climb stairs, is there an alternative for getting to the second floor of the house? If not, how livable is the first floor of the home? Hallways should be wide enough for a wheelchair or walker, so that a senior can get around the house with ease. Additionally, if the house is too large to maintain, does that mean it will turn into an turn into a financial burden?

2. What is the senior’s financial situation?
How financially prepared is a senior to age in place? While staying at home for as long as possible is emotionally comforting, it may become a financial burden so it’s best to calculate and be prepared. Workers may need to be hired to keep the gutters cleared, the lawn mowed, and so on. If a loved one isn’t available to do these things regularly, the costs of upkeep, in addition to elder care, can quickly add up. Other costs can include adapting the home for the senior by installing a stairway lift, and grab bars in the bathroom.

3. Does the senior have access to transportation?
Perhaps at this point in time, a senior is still able to drive themselves where they need to go. What about 5 years from now? Eyesight deteriorates, as does the physical ability to walk and move. Eventually it can be too much effort for a senior to get out of the house to visit the bank or go grocery shopping. In that eventuality, is there a senior transportation system in town, or can loved ones help? If there is an emergency, will the senior be able to get to the phone to call 911? These are important issues to think through, detail by detail, in order to develop a plan of action for when a senior is in need. A caregiver can assist with the transportation of a senior, driving them to the grocery store, library, or park.

4. How is the senior’s mental health?
Is a senior prone to being lonely or depressed? If the company of others is a necessity on a daily basis, then aging in place may not be the ideal course of action. As a senior’s body becomes more frail and getting out of the house becomes difficult, the senior will become more isolated. If the family lives far away, and can’t visit often, the onset of depression can be more detrimental to a senior’s health than nearly anything else. It will keep them from eating, from moving, and seeking healthy activities. A caregiver can provide friendship and ease social isolation.

5. How well can the senior self care?
Can a senior maintain their health? This is really the bottom line. If physically handicapped, how will a senior get out into the sunlight, or exercise? Eating a healthy diet will help, as does taking vitamins to compensate for a lack of Vitamin D from the sun. Evaluate how well a senior can care for themselves. A custom care plan will surely benefit many seniors as they age in place. A care professional can detect how they can best help a senior live their fullest, happiest life.

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