“Nearly 90% of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age, often referred to as ‘aging in place’. Living under one’s own rules is a key reason for staying in one’s own home.” www.iyhusa.com/AginginPlaceFacts-Data.htm. How do seniors make this happen? What does it take to stay at home?
There isn’t just one answer to these questions. The biggest concern is safety. I am a Care Advocate at GolderCare Solutions. I provide in-home assessments for our clients. The MOST important questions I ask are, “If there was a fire, what would you do and how would you get out of the house?” If they can’t answer this question, this is a big red flag.
Now, if you are reading this and thinking, I’m not sure what I would do if there was a fire, then I’m glad I’ve got your attention and we can review a few possible solutions to this and a few other safety concerns. It’s all about communication. How do you call for help? Cell phone? Cell phones are good except that it is often difficult to make sure that you always have it on your person or within reach. It does not help if it is on the bed stand in the other room.
The best solution which aging people who find it difficult to get out of their chairs or beds are for some sort of emergency response system. You wear a monitor as a watch or necklace. There are many companies who sell and install these systems. In my opinion, don’t go with battery-only operated systems. Use the ones with an electronic system and need a dedicated land line. These usually don’t fail the users in their most desperate of times.
The next question that I usually ask is, “Have you fallen lately?” No matter what your answer is, people need to think about what they would do if they fell and couldn’t get up. I’m sure you have heard people make fun of the TV commercial that states, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” If you are the one who fell, it’s not funny. And it’s particularly not funny if you can’t get up on your own. The answer is back to a communication device to be able to alert someone. And remember, the cell phone may have flown out of your hand when you fell and now you can’t reach it.
Now, on to more personal questions, like “Are you able to take a bath by yourself?” I don’t mean wash up with a hand cloth. I mean get in and out of a bath tub or shower. For best hygiene, we need to get washed thoroughly on a regular basis. We are often embarrassed to admit that we need help and even more embarrassed at the thought of who would be best to help us. Family members are often willing, but it can cause uncomfortable situations. I don’t care if you are mother, daughter, father, or son in the situation. It can be awkward at best. This is when hiring a home care agency can best be used. They can come once or twice a week. For many people, paying an organization to help you bathe is well worth the cost. They can also provide home health aides to clean your home, cook some meals, and/or take you grocery shopping or doctor appointments. It often seems less intrusive than asking loved ones to do it.
In 2017, GolderCare Solutions is introducing monthly Empowerment Series – Aging in Place providing education to older adults and their families. The focus is on the older adult’s ability to navigate multiple issues associated with aging, with confidence and awareness.
Our next class is How to Get Help to Stay Home Longer will be on Wednesday, February 8th, Radisson Hotel, 1415 River Drive, Moline from 10:00-11:30. There is no cost to attend. Come with questions and concerns. We are here to help you out.