According to a study by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 87% of adults in the United States over the age of 65 intend to age in their homes instead of opting to live in a retirement community or home.
While the trend towards aging in place will ease the heavy load that many retirement homes currently experience, it also brings new challenges. For example, some seniors may be able to age independently, while others will need a personal care provider.
Regardless of the situation, caring for aging parents who want to age in place requires planning. Keep reading to learn about six essential strategies to help your parents age comfortably in their own home and avoid disaster.
Modify Your Parents’ Home
Given that your parents will be staying in their home as they continue to age, making the house as senior-friendly as possible is essential. While outfitting an entire home seems like a daunting task, taking it one step at a time makes the process much more manageable.
To make a house safe for aging in place, we recommend that you fall-proof the house. To fall-proof a home, you want to remove as much clutter as possible. Small objects and tight spaces can result in a fall, which is a leading cause of injuries among seniors.
Further, install grab bars and other adaptive equipment where your parents will be moving up and down. For example, stairlifts and grab bars in the bathroom are great ways to reduce falls in common high-risk areas.
You should also properly light every part of the house. Poor lighting mixed with declining vision is a recipe for falls. Therefore, install plenty of light fixtures and ensure that windows allow as much natural light as possible.
Take Advantage of Delivery Services
After the pandemic, there are more delivery services than ever. For an aging senior, minimizing time on the road may be safer for them and the drivers around them. Therefore, using delivery services when possible is an excellent way for your parents to get the essentials.
From groceries to take-out to clothing to medication, there is almost certainly a delivery service that suits their needs. Some common delivery services that many seniors use include:
- Meals on Wheels
- Meal kits
- Amazon Prime
- Walgreens and CVS medication delivery
Use Transportation Services
Like delivery services, transportation services help keep aging seniors off the roads and out of harm’s way. In addition, transportation services may save you from driving your parents to and from destinations when they want to get out of the house.
The obvious option for transportation services is to use public transportation. However, ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft offer ridesharing services specifically for seniors. Both platforms provide low-cost rides for seniors and have options that allow family members to schedule rides for their parents remotely.
Share Caregiving Duties
If you are fortunate enough to have siblings that can help care for your aging parents, create a schedule or list of responsibilities for each person. Even if you don’t have siblings, asking close friends for occasional favors is also an option.
Caring for aging parents will be very taxing without a support system, so it’s important to tap your resources and community for help.
Don’t Shy Away From Additional Help
If caring for your parents as they age in place is too taxing or if their health declines to the point where you can no longer care for them adequately, do not shy away from seeking professional help. Although some seniors may be resistant to outside help at first, it may be the only way that they can continue aging in place.
The amount of help that you will need to hire depends on your parents’ condition. If your parents only need help with house maintenance and chores, a simple cleaning service is all they need.
If they need help with daily tasks like showering, dressing, and taking medication, they will need more extensive help. For example, they may require home health aides or home health care services.
Finally, part-time or full-time in-home care service is the best option for seniors who need significant care and supervision throughout the day and even at night. However, be advised that the cost of help will increase as your parents need more help.
Invest in the Best Assistive Technology
Assistive technology can be one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to help your parents successfully age in place. With the right technology, you can protect your parents whether they are inside their house, walking around the neighborhood, or out on the town.
We recommend that you look into the WellBe digital health platform for the best protection and features. The WellBe system consists of a smart speaker, watch, and pendant. With cutting-edge features including GPS, two-way communication, and medication reminders, the WellBe system will help keep your parents safe.
To learn more about caring for aging parents and the steps you can take to make the process more enjoyable for your parents and easier for you, click here for free access to our eBook, Caring for Aging Parents 101.