Have you ever wondered where you would like to live out your life after the age of 65? Maybe a retirement home doesn’t sound right for you or maybe living with your children is not an option. Perhaps, you desire a more independent lifestyle; maybe your see yourself living out your life in the place where you feel most comfortable, your home. The concept of living out one’s life in their own home is known as “aging in place,” and it is becoming extremely popular as America’s geriatric population continues to rise with the aging of the baby boomers. But to make this dream possible, you have to start planning now. As our bodies start to age, tasks we once saw as simple in our youth grow more difficult. Perhaps, you noticed that your vision is no longer suitable for night driving or that trip back and forth from the car to deliver the groceries to the kitchen has left you exhausted. As our bodies begin to lose strength and our senses dull, the need for support and assistance becomes imperative to our goal.
There are several items we must consider when deciding to age in place; three of the more important items are safety, support and health. First, in order for us to stay in our own home we have to remain safe. Safety does not just mean protection from an outside threat of harm but also relates to falls, medication compliance, risk for infection and other environmental hazards we become more prone to after the age of 65. Secondly, a sense of support is essential, whether that is family, friends, community or a home care company. A lack of support can lead to isolation, illness, falls, or even worse; death.
Lastly, it is important to keep up with your regularly scheduled doctor’s appointments. Remember to keep your doctor informed of any changes in your health and to discuss in depth an advance health care directive. An advance health care directive is extremely important as it allows your family to know your wishes when you may no longer be able to speak for yourself.
If aging in place sound right for you, it is important to prepare for this life style. Make sure you have open discussions with your family regarding your wishes and keep them informed of any changes. With the proper safety measurements, the right support system, and proper monitoring of your health, it is possible for you to remain in home until your final days.
Amanda Butler, Program Coordinator at V&V Management Solutions