Aging in place is a phrase that describes older adults that want to continue living in their own homes as they get older.
With a steadily growing population of seniors in Canada, there are a lot of people currently looking to age in place. An overwhelming majority of seniors want to remain at home instead of moving to an assisted care facility or a retirement home.
However, aging in place is not a decision that can just be made with no planning or support system in place.
Health conditions and other problems can get in the way of making the dream of aging in place a reality.
Challenges to Aging in Place
There are many potential hazards or obstacles that can present challenges for living at home independently.
Some of these challenges may be:
- Reduced strength and mobility
- Impaired vision or hearing
- Risk of falls
- Chronic fatigue / reduced energy
- Social isolation
Diminished Strength and Mobility
Loss of muscle mass and maneuverability is a natural occurrence with age.
This reduction in strength and mobility doesn’t have to be debilitating though.
Regular exercise is one preventative measure. Consistent strengthening and flexibility activities can be a huge help.
Other practices that can help are a nutritious diet, regular social activity, avoiding stress, and quality sleep.
Impaired Vision or Hearing
These are two factors that can directly affect independence and the ability to live at home.
Regular visual and auditory check ups can help you stay on top of the situation, and treat any issues before they get out of hand.
Again, healthy lifestyle choices like a good diet, sleep, and exercise can help in preventing all kinds of disease and illness.
Risk of Falls
The risk of injury due to a fall is one of the biggest challenges for seniors living at home. Every year, falls continue to be the number one reason for seniors’ making a trip to the hospital.
Decreased strength and mobility are considerable risk factors for injuries caused from falls, so staying healthy is one effective preventative measure.
Safeguarding the home is another way. Some useful practices include clearing large walkways, installing grab bars or railings, and reorganizing rooms for optimal safety.
For more serious measures, modifications and renovations can be made to the home to make it safer.
People over 65 may be eligible for a tax return for any home modifications that make the home more accessible or safer for senior residents.
Chronic Fatigue / Lack of Energy
A lot of seniors find they feel tired all the time or just have no energy to do anything. This can be caused by health issues, poor nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle, and a lack of social engagement.
Caregivers from a professional home care agency can be of massive assistance in these cases.
Caregivers can assist with improving health and boosting energy levels, and they can also help out with daily routines that seniors can no longer manage on their own.
It gets harder and harder to maintain social relationships as we get older.
In some cases, seniors become isolated, which can lead to depression. This in turn can lead to chronic fatigue, and compromised health. The whole situation can become a vicious circle that is difficult to break.
Caregivers can provide companionship for your loved one, and can even act as a chaperone for social activities and events.
Benefits of Aging in Place
Once you figure out how to overcome the challenges, there are many benefits for older adults that choose to age at home.
Some of the greatest advantages, include:
- Comfort & Safety
Comfort & Safety
These two things often go hand in hand. It is pretty difficult to feel comfortable without feeling safe.
Home is where most people report feeling the greatest sense of security and comfort.
Also, people tend to recover from injury or illness more quickly and fully in a trusted environment.
Change can be stressful at any age, but it tends to become more strenuous as we get older.
Moving to a retirement community can cause undue anxiety and worry.
It is more practical and cost effective to bring care services to your door with a reputable home care agency.
This all leads to a greater sense of independence and autonomy. Caregivers can assist your loved with a variety of tasks and activities so they can continue living a fulfilling life.