Designing a Plan to Age in Place
The desire to stay in our homes as we age is more popular now than ever. However, there is a growing segment of our population that are being lost by systems due to no longer having access to transportation, a lack of family support, a recent loss of a spouse, or a recent decline in cognition.
Typically the most substantial issues found for this population while aging in place are; falls, lack of accessible transportation, and isolation. These are mostly non-medical matters, which makes it difficult to fully rely on the health care system to meet their largest needs.
The 65 and older community is the largest population receiving health services. But, even if a person is admitted to the hospital with a fall injury, this encounter with the system does not necessarily replace the carpet the person tripped on.
To sustainably age, in place, we should plan for in-home supports, identify resources in our community, and educate ourselves on what to look out for within our home.
Our neighbors, family, friends are our primary supports system. Having conversations about how we would like to age in place, making a point to outline important aspects of our daily routine, and even creating an action plan in cases of an emergency should be priority conversations with those closest to us.
Having this type of support system and educating them on what signs to look for (i.e. mail piling up or overgrown grass) can help ensure we are checked in on at the first evidence of trouble.
We might not always have family or neighbors to count on, and in this case, it is also important to do a bit of research to see what type of resources are available to us in our community.
Partners in Care in Maryland is a great organization who for over twenty years has supported older adults remaining in the homes they love and keeping them meaningfully engaged in their communities. Finding a care team like theirs in our community is an excellent way of ensuring reliable transportation, that we receive general repairs when we need them, and even more importantly we can always count on them to brighten our days with a simple conversation.
A Safe and Secure Home Checklist
AGIS- Assist Guide Information Services provides us with an excellent tool to assess our homes safety and security. The checklist ranges from the General living area to our personal safety as we navigate through our homes.
|General Living Areas||Yes||No||Action Taken|
|Is there adequate lighting throughout the house?|
|Are there night lights where needed?|
|Is home well ventilated?|
|Are all doorways accessible and easy to operate?|
Assuring that the physical layout of our homes and the items within are placed in a way that creates a safe and secure living environment for our aging needs is critical to the ability to continue to live in our homes. This type of prevention could also decrease the risk of falls and subsequently trips to the emergency room.
Preparation is key
The aging process, at times, can be unpredictable and of course we cannot always anticipate for all of our future needs. However, we can create a plan and identify how and where we would like to spend our better years. Spending time to research resources in our communities, having conversations with those closest to us, and assessing our homes ability to meet our future needs are all places we can begin the planning process towards our ability to age where we want.