If you’re an older adult with mobility or health issues, you might be wondering if you can continue living in your current home. Or maybe you’re concerned about your aging parents’ safety and health while they’re living in their home. Instead of moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility, there are options that may allow you to age in place, remain independent and stay your healthiest.
Two possible solutions are home care and modifying your home to assist with any mobility issues. Here’s what you need to know about these options and how they can help you:
Senior Home Care
Think of it like bringing the assisted living facility staff to your home. A licensed home care agency will send home care aides to assist you with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, cooking and eating, getting around the home, escorting to medical appointments and medication reminders. They can also help with light housekeeping, laundry and more. They will assist you with as much or as little as needed.
Some of the advantages of using a licensed/certified home care agency include:
- The agency will check the aides’ experience and background as well as taking care of taxes, wages, and insurance coverage.
- If an aide is sick or taking time off, the agency will send another qualified aide to your home.
- An agency can assess your needs to make sure you’re getting the best care possible.
- They can work with your doctor, lawyer, agencies, and family to coordinate your care and other needs.
If you’re considering home care, here are some questions to ask:
- Is the agency licensed to operate in your state?
- Are employees screened with background checks?
- Who trains and oversees home care aides?
- How does an agency handle billing for care?
- Is the care covered by your health insurance or a government program?
Making modifications to your home
If your mobility is limited, you may need help getting around your home. For example, if you live in a two-story house, going up the stairs may be a very challenging task. Fortunately, you can modify your home to make it safer and easier to live in. Home modifications for the elderly and physically challenged include installing a home stair lift, wheelchair ramp, a home elevator and more.
Simple changes to your home can also make a big difference in your quality of life. These include:
- Replacing a doorknob with a lever handle.
- Making doorways wider and lowering a countertops to accommodate a wheelchair.
- Installing grab bars in the bathroom.
- Changing light switches and upgrading the brighter bulbs.
Before starting home modifications for the elderly, take a look at each room in your house and make a list of possible problem areas and potential solutions.
These changes can allow you stay in your home, be independent and prevent serious accidents, such as falling. A senior citizen is admitted to the Emergency Room every 11 seconds from a fall; don’t become a statistic.
Depending on your needs, you can often buy or rent the needed equipment. In some cases, a home modification specialist will rent or buy back equipment when you no longer need it or if you want to upgrade to another solution to better meet your needs.
What are your next steps?
If you would like to age in place, you should take a look at your situation and see what makes sense for you. Here’s what you can do to get started:
- If you’re thinking about home care, make a list of the activities you need help with and questions for the home care agency.
- If you want to make senior home modifications, take a close look at your home and jot down what changes you’d like to make.
To learn more about home care and home modifications for seniors who prefer to age in place, contact the Long-Term Living Association (LTLA). You can visit their website at longtermliving.org or call 1-800-868-1193 to make an appointment.
Licensed Home Care Provider