A woman smiles at an elderly man with hands on his shoulders.
June 05, 2024

How to Support Aging In Place: A Comprehensive Guide

We all want the best for our loved ones as they age. Allowing them to live safely in their homes and communities can be a familiar comfort and, for many older adults, a sought-after lifestyle. The term for living independently with the support needed to do so safely is commonly known as aging in place. According to a recent University of Michigan report, an astonishing 88% of Americans aged 50 to 80 want to remain in their homes for as long as possible.1 Understanding and facilitating this desire involves providing them with the adjustments needed to ensure their autonomy, safety, and well-being.

5 Reasons Why Older Adults Want To Age in Place:

  1. Independence and control:
    Older adults want to maintain autonomy.
  2. Affordability:
    Aging at home can be more cost-effective than other options.
  3. Familiarity:
    They enjoy the comfort of their familiar home and neighborhood.
  4. Empowerment:
    They feel confident in their ability to care for themselves.
  5. Avoidance of institutional care:
    Many resist impersonal care settings.

How To Facilitate Aging in Place

Helping your loved one successfully age in place doesn’t have to be daunting. It’s a matter of paying attention to how they live now and seeing if improvements (and available services) would help them stay safe should anything change. The first few questions you can ask when deciding if your loved one could use some support or adjustments are simple.

  • Are there any significant changes in self-care or hygiene?
  • Do they show lapses in judgment?
  • Are there signs of physical decline, such as weight loss or unsteady walking?
  • Do they seem isolated or depressed?
  • Is their memory working well?

The above questions can be used as your first step guide to indicate early signs that your loved one may need help to continue living well on their terms. At Home Care Connectors, we can help you create a personalized care plan that enables you to provide your loved one with as much support as needed. As their needs change, you can look to us to help support them. Let’s dive deeper into some challenges you may need to help them address.

10 Key Questions to Consider

  1. Can they safely navigate through the home?
    Now may be the time to modify their home for easy movement and adequate lighting.
  2. Is it challenging to go up and down stairs?
    Modifications such as ramps or stairlifts may be needed.
  3. Are they struggling with everyday activities like bathing, cooking, or cleaning?
    This may signal the need for assistive devices in the home. It also may be a sign that a caregiver or companion may be needed to provide necessary support.
  4. Are you noticing lapses in judgment?
    Smart home technology can help with simple tasks such as locking the doors and turning off lights. But if they make mistakes that could put them in danger, such as leaving food to burn on the cooktop, they may need the supervision of a care provider.
  1. Are they lonely?
    A family member or trusted professional can share a meal, chat or engage in activities like playing cards or going for a walk.
  2.  Are they having difficulty managing medications?
    Setting up pill boxes, automatic reminders, or other organizational systems will allow them to stay in control.
  3. Can they keep up with basic home maintenance tasks?
    It may be time to consider hiring a helper to change batteries and lightbulbs and give the home a “once-over” every few months.
  4. Do they need help managing finances?
    It may be time to help your loved one create a system for organizing bills, receipts, and statements.
  5. Do they need help with errands?
    It’s important to ask if they struggle to get to their appointments or need help with grocery shopping and other errands.  A home health aide maybe able to assist them with errands provide transportation.
  6. Are their health needs changing?
    Incidental, transitional, and long-term care are available in-home options for your loved one. The experts at Home Care Connectors can help create a care plan that will empower them to live their best lives—in the comfort of the home they love.

Important Conversations

Discussing sensitive topics related to aging and potential changes in living arrangements must be done with understanding, openness and empathy. After all, you love and admire this person. Older adults who have been independent their whole lives may resist needing help. You may be wondering how you can best broach these subjects while giving them a sense of autonomy and the respect they deserve. The short answer is to approach the subject tactfully. Imagine you are the person receiving the news that things need to change. Explain these choices are being made so you can support their desire to remain living at home. Point out examples of concerns you have, such as mobility limitations, difficulty with daily tasks, or safety concerns. Offer them a sense of control by making them part of this decision-making process and making them aware that you are bringing these safety issues to their attention to keep them living on their terms in their home.

Expanding Support Services

As you talk with your loved one, you may discover you need to expand the discussion to include broader services, including meal delivery, grocery delivery, or help getting to doctor’s appointments, or going on simple errands. They may need time to process it all and help identify the best way to face new challenges. Gently remind them that getting help is a way of providing support and making the adjustments they need to remain living on their own terms.

Keeping them in the loop and aware gives them the dignity and respect they need to participate in their aging-in-place process. Instead of hostile resentment and frustration, they can feel the freedom and dignity you want them to experience.

Conclusion

Ensuring the well-being and comfort of aging loved ones as they choose to remain in their homes is a shared responsibility. By approaching the topic with sensitivity, offering practical support, and involving them in decision-making, you can help them age comfortably, safely, and affordably in the place they love to call home.

We are here to provide personalized assistance and guidance every step of the way. Contact us today for a free consultation. Together, we can create a tailored plan that enables your loved one to age comfortably and safely in their cherished home.

  1. Deb Hipp, “Aging in Place Statistics and Facts in 2024,” Forbes Health, May 2, 2024, https://www.forbes.com/health/healthy-aging/aging-in-place-statistics/#:~:text=Why%20Do%20We%20Want%20to,from%20the%20University%20of%20Michigan. ↩︎