Choice for the New Millennium: Aging at Home

As we age, issues present themselves which challenge our ability to be independent. Health issues in particular can become so burdensome as to require full-time care in a nursing home. There are alternatives to nursing-home care. For seniors and their caregivers, aging at home is becoming an increasingly popular mode of elder care.

Aging at Home is a Healthy Option

Staying at home with appropriate support for daily living tasks, medication, mobility, bathing, and other issues is far preferable to going into a nursing home. Given the proper support, and modifications to the home if necessary, aging at home can be a healthier alternative to living in a nursing home.

On its website, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development cites studies that show that aging in place supports emotional and psychological health—both of which impact physical health. Aging at home allows people to preserve their social connections. According to the website, “Civic engagement and volunteering can reduce mortality; increase physical function, muscular strength, and levels of self-rated health; reduce symptoms of depression and pain; and increase life expectancy.”.

For hard evidence that staying at home while aging is a healthy alternative to nursing home care, consider that people participating in Missouri’s Aging In Place program had better outcomes in areas of cognition, depression, activities of daily living and incontinence than those in nursing homes. This result points to concrete health benefits of aging at home.

Preservation of Lifestyle

Staying at home while we age is almost a universally desired goal. Modifications to the home are important to facilitate the realization of this goal.

Some key modification might include ramps rather than steps leading to the entrance of the home, lever faucets and door handles, non-slip flooring, roll-in showers, and widened doorways to accommodate wheelchairs.

These modifications might seem pricey, but there are grants available to help defray some of  these costs, as well as free assistance from non-profit organizations and charities, loans of equipment, and low interest loans.

Cost Benefits of In-Home Senior Care

Given the reality of the high cost of home care insurance and nursing home care, in-home elder care is a more affordable option. To put the cost of in-home care in perspective, according to AARP,  the median cost of homemaker/companion/home health aide services start at $125 a day. Assisted living costs compare to about 44 hours of home care per week. Put in this light, it is is evident that compared to the costs of an assisted living facility, home health care is a viable option.

Consider also that there have been studies showing that aging at home can reduce the instances of health problems, and the cost savings that aging at home elder care provides becomes even more apparent.   

Help for the Caregiver

When you step into the role of caregiver, you take on a myriad of tasks which can require specialized knowledge and training. Your loved one might need help with bathing; mobility; meals; household chores; taking their medications; and blood sugar, blood pressure and other monitoring. Wound care and IV care could be in the picture. There are ways to get the help you need as you step into the demanding role of caregiver.

Apps such as CareZone, CaringBridge, and LotsaHelpingHands provide a good framework for scheduling medications, tracking overall health, connecting and coordinating with other caregivers, and storing contact information, among other features.

Services such as in-home care agencies, your local Area Agency on Aging, the Eldercare Locator provided by the U.S. Administration on Aging, and groups of caregivers on Facebook and CaringBridge can be valuable sources of information, and help you on your journey as a caregiver.

It is important to remember that as a caregiver, you have needs too. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to  properly care for your loved one. Schedule time off by coordinating with in-home care providers. Don’t take it all on yourself.

Home Care Options Are Available

American Senior Services, Inc. provides seniors with the freedom to live in their own homes. We arrange for a fully licensed, bonded and insured homecare provider from the ASSI qualified network, or our seniors can select an ASSI-approved friend or neighbor to provide their care. Contact us today to speak with one of our reps.

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