Aging at home is the preference of most seniors, and yet many families are still not having the conversations they should in order to make it happen. It can be an emotional topic for many, and that makes it easy to put off time and time again. But we all know – a plan is what makes things happen, and it’s how we can decide what’s right for our families. If you have a senior in your family, it’s time to start thinking about what the future holds, and what supports are available to lean on as time goes on and circumstances change.
There are many benefits to seniors staying in their own homes as they age. It’s not only a preference for most, but it’s good for families – and the community! Seniors contribute a great deal to their neighborhoods and communities, and the quality of life they enjoy there is often higher.
Benefits to the senior & family
- Comfort of staying in their own home.
- Feelings of autonomy
- Encourages independence in a safe environment
- Maintains existing connections to neighbours to help with isolation concerns
- Enjoying memories of the home and a feeling of familiarity
- Enjoying an established garden and outdoor space
- Easier to visit with children and others in the family
- More enjoyable visits with family and friends
- Less worry over a loved one’s well-being
- Costs easier to manage when care and supports match actual needs
Benefits to the community with our seniors aging at home
- Seniors are able to shop in the community, purchase services, volunteer
- Neighbors helping neighbors
- Seniors teach younger generations and share their experience
- Charitable giving is typically high among seniors
- Seniors pay taxes and contribute to the growth of the community
- Seniors can contribute to their families with babysitting and other help
- Diversity in neighborhoods is strong and underscores an aging friendly society
Make a plan – What a senior should consider when planning to age at home?
Aging at home can be done by seniors in many situations, if planned well and in advance. A plan allows you to accommodate many changes that may come your way while protecting you from elevated risk or harm. Discussing your wishes ahead of time, and considering options and supports before you need them, is the best way to come up with a plan you can rely on as you age.
It can also be valuable to have a safety assessment done on the home where you plan to spend your senior years. Address any safety issues and discuss potential changes that could be made if physical abilities change over time. Review homecare options, from respite to casual to full time, and discuss what supports are available in the community.
If you are caring for a senior in your family, encourage these conversations so you can help explore options. A senior who would like to live independently may not ask for help if they fear it will trigger a major change to their living situation. However, with a plan in place for levels of homecare support ranging from weekly drop-ins, to support getting out and about to appointments or shopping, or daily care, it is more likely your senior loved one will let you know when they are needing assistance.
What a family should consider when helping an aging loved one prepare a plan to remain at home?
Create a time for family and your senior loved one to sit down and discuss plans, options, preferences, and concerns about aging at home. It may take several conversations, so keep the lines of communication open. Be prepared to discuss financial situations, emotional needs, health and physical capabilities, and personal preferences. How will your loved one stay healthy and active? How will they stay safe living alone? What can they do, and what challenges need to be discussed? How will they manage transportation – and if they drive, when might this change and what will they do at that point?
Discussing benefits and challenges, and likely scenarios can help remove worry and fear for everyone in the situation, so don’t gloss over these topics. This can be an emotional conversation, and it’s important to support a senior’s preferences and help them make the best decisions for their situation, rather than making decisions for them. Aging at home is an option for many seniors in many families, so take the time to plan how it can work for you and your loved one.
If you are concerned about a senior in your family, for any reason, why not take our senior care assessment. It may give you some much needed perspective.
Have questions or feedback on what you just read? Please don’t hesitate to contact us, we’d love to chat with you.
~ Senior Homecare by Angels Calgary team