Aging in Place: A 5-Step Roadmap for Living at Home Safely
If you are reaching retirement age or have a loved one 65+, you may have heard the term “aging in place.” Aging in place simply means that you stay at home as you grow older, rather than entering a senior living community or moving in with family members. Over 75% of older adults want to stay in their current homes. But to honor those wishes, it’s important to have a plan in place.
As people grow older, their needs change. Maintaining physical health, safety, personal care, and mental health may all require you to make adjustments and even seek a helping hand. Fortunately, services like in-home care are making it possible for more adults to stay at home for longer periods of time.
If you or a loved one is approaching their senior years, it’s important to put a plan in place now to ensure your preferences can be met safely. Let’s talk through the most important steps for making home a safe and healthy place to grow old.
Your Aging in Place Checklist: A Step-by-Step Guide
Whether you live alone, have a spouse that will soon need care, or are concerned about an aging parent, this list can help you plan ahead to ensure their safety and comfort.
Step 1: Assess the Kinds of Help You May Require
The first thing to consider is the types of care you or your loved one may be most likely to require in the near future. Some illnesses and long-term conditions can make getting around harder, such as diabetes or dementia. But even when medical care isn’t required, many seniors still need assistance with various other aspects of daily life.
In-home care services can help seniors with most of the support they need to stay in their own homes. With in-home care, you can add any of the services you need on a schedule of your choosing, including:
- Personal care
- Light housekeeping & chores
- Meal preparation
- Companion care
- Medication reminders & monitoring chronic conditions
Step 2: Make a Plan for Monitoring Health Conditions
While home care services don’t typically include skilled nursing care, they can help you manage chronic diseases. Between visits to your doctor, an in-home caregiver can check in and provide extra peace of mind, preventing disease progression and coordinating further care if and when needs change.
With services like remote patient monitoring (RPM), even seniors who don’t yet need full-time assistance can get a helping hand managing and tracking conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and more. RPM devices can even detect falls when no one else is in the home, ensuring that if an accident does happen, you or your loved one will receive the right care as quickly as possible.
Step 3: Complete a Home Safety Assessment
Every home has its unique quirks and features that need to be considered when making a plan to age in place. Therefore, the earlier you can start reducing hazards and making modifications, the better.
With a little pre-planning, making a home accessible for the elderly doesn’t have to happen all at once! We recommend starting before you need care and making at least one major modification per year to make your home an age-friendly place.
Safety Hazards to Watch For
- Electrical cords in walkways
- Cluttered rooms with too much furniture to navigate around
- Loose rugs without tape or slip-resistant backings
- Stairs without sturdy railing
- Outdoor steps with loose stones or rotting wood
Recommended Aging-in-Place Home Modifications
- Install grab bars and slip-resistant floor surfaces in bathrooms
- Move the main bedroom to the first floor
- Purchase kitchen appliances with safety features
- Replace round door knobs with lever handles
- Ensure ample and easily accessible lighting throughout the home (consider voice-activated smart lighting)
ComForCare is available to help—our teams perform thorough in-home assessments to develop customized care plans and make home safety recommendations. For more information on how to reduce fall risks in the home, download our free guide!
Step 4: Start Prioritizing Health & Nutrition
Regular activity, a balanced diet, and stress management are all important components of maintaining an independent lifestyle, managing health conditions, and reducing your risk of injuries. If you haven’t started setting these healthy habits, now is the best time to start. After all, nutrition needs change after 65, so it’s important to understand what you’ll need to accomplish your health goals.
It’s also important to be realistic about your ability to cook meals for yourself, which may be affected by changes that come with age. In-home caregivers can develop a personalized nutrition plan and prepare meals, helping you stay healthier—and therefore live at home—longer.
Step 5: Plan Ahead for Transportation & Social Connection
Staying connected to your community is extremely important, as isolation is one of the biggest risk factors for seniors living at home alone. Being able to go out to social events, make your doctor’s appointments, and reach local shopping areas for what you need is critical.
If your ability to drive is or becomes compromised, you need to understand what other options are available to you. For some, that could mean public transportation or getting rides from a loved one, but these options aren’t always realistic (or reliable) for everyone.
If transportation or isolation is a concern, home care services can help. Whether you need regular assistance getting to appointments or just need a ride on an as-needed basis, our care services can be tailored to your unique preferences.
Learn More About Whether In-Home Care is Right for You
At ComForCare, we pride ourselves on providing the highest quality senior care services in the comfort of our clients’ homes. Whether you need us for a few days each week or around the clock, our compassionate caregivers are ready to tailor services to you. Browse through our wealth of resources to learn more about the signs that it’s time for home care, how to talk about home care, and much more. Or, contact your nearest location today to start a conversation!
Choose ComForCare: America’s Trusted Source for In-Home Care Services
With over 200 locations in the U.S., ComForCare offers personalized senior care in a community near you. Our customizable in-home personal care and in-home dementia care services are designed to empower older adults to live their best lives possible. We’re here to answer any questions you may have about aging in place—reach out today to start your journey!