For those not familiar with the phrase “aging in place,” simply put, it refers to choosing to stay in your home with family, friends, and neighbors around you as you grow older (instead of moving to a residential facility designed to support long-term care, such as an assisted-living facility). As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM, I find that aging in place is a top priority for many of my older clients as we work together to plan and take proactive steps to ensure that they can continue to live comfortably and safely in their home as they age. Here are some of the best tips for aging-in-place that I recommend to my clients:
Create a Plan
It's important to create a plan for aging in place well before it's necessary. This includes taking steps to make your home more accessible and safe, as well as considering your financial situation and healthcare needs.
Make Your Home Safe
Conduct a thorough evaluation of your home to identify potential safety hazards and necessary adjustments.There are many modifications that you can make to your home to create a safer and more accessible environment. Some examples include: installing grab bars in the bathroom, removing tripping hazards, and adding extra lighting. You might also consider assistive devices like stairlifts, shower chairs, or adjustable beds to enhance mobility and accessibility. Collaborate with contractors and occupational therapists to ensure that any modifications align with your specific needs.
Consider Your Healthcare Needs
As you age, your healthcare needs will likely change. Again, it’s important to plan ahead for these changes and to make sure that you have the necessary resources in place, such as a healthcare proxy and a plan for long-term care.
Regular exercise is essential for maintaining your health and mobility as you age. Consider incorporating low-impact exercises like walking or swimming into your routine.
Isolation, socially, can have negative effects on both your mental and physical health. Make an effort to stay connected with friends and family and consider joining a local senior center or community group. Consider exploring volunteer opportunities or hobbies that align with your interests, as these activities can help promote mental stimulation and a sense of purpose.
Consider working with an exercise trainer weekly to assist you with staying active. Consider meeting with a mental healthcare worker weekly to help monitor your mental acuteness.
Interacting with different people throughout the week will increase the network of individuals around you who are more likely to notice when you’ve missed an appointment and will check-in with you. My greatest fear for my clients is that they may fall or injure themselves at home and not be able to call for help.
Lack of transportation can limit social interactions for some elderly individuals. Explore transportation options such as local senior transportation services, volunteer driver programs, or ride share services designed for seniors. By ensuring reliable transportation, you can help maintain social engagements and connections.
As you age, it's important to stay organized to avoid confusion and potential safety hazards. Consider using a pill organizer, labeling important items, and keeping a calendar to stay on top of appointments and medications. Consider hiring a bookkeeper to help you pay your bills regularly.
ConsiderIn-Home Care Options
As you age, you may require assistance with daily activities. Discuss the possibility of hiring professional in-home caregivers who can provide support tailored to their needs. There are various types of in-home care services available, including personal care, companionship, and skilled nursing care. We recommend reputable home care agencies that conduct thorough background checks and ensure that the chosen caregivers are licensed and insured. One thing I have observed with my clients is that when they finally do set up home assistance, most realize that they should have set up some care sooner rather than later.
Overall, aging in place can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience with the right planning and resources in place. As a financial planner, I encourage all of my clients to consider these tips and to make a plan for aging in place that works for them and, in turn, enables them to age in place with confidence, dignity, and peace of mind.