Today, more adults than ever want to age in place, or grow old in their own home, rather than move into an assisted living community or relative’s house. A survey from AARP reveals that 90% of seniors both prefer to remain in their homes and view respecting their preference for aging in place as a way to support them.
With the many documented benefits of aging in place, it only makes sense that it is the preferred living arrangement for most seniors. Thanks to modern technology, it is safer than ever for older adults to maintain independence and remain in their homes. In this blog, learn about the benefits of aging in place and what you can do to improve your or your loved one’s experience.
Why Should You Stay in Your Home? Aging in Place Benefits
When asked, most seniors prefer to stay in their own homes as they age because of the comfort and familiarity. For someone who has lived in the same house for decades, the idea of moving into a nursing home or assisted living community is understandably uncomfortable.
Aging in place also helps seniors maintain their independence. Even as they face cognitive or physical decline, most seniors would rather remain in control of their own decision, daily routines, and activities. In fact, one of the most significant aging in place benefits is the ability to maintain social connections.
An AARP survey revealed that 41% of seniors listed “friends” as one of the reasons they wanted to age in place. Seniors living at home are more likely to remain engaged and avoid the social isolation prevalent in the older population. That isolation is a significant contributor to other health issues, including depression, anxiety, and illness.
And, of course, it is hard to ignore the cost benefits associated with aging in place. The annual costs for full-time nursing home care average about $105,000 for a private room—and they are climbing. Even when you consider the costs of modifying a home to accommodate changing needs, the cost difference is clear.
In fact, modifying the home—including implementing technology—and developing a plan for success are the keys to keeping you or your loved ones safe, healthy, and thriving as they get older.
How Can You Successfully Age in Place?
If you support a loved one in their decision to age in place or plan to age in place for your retirement, following these five steps can help keep you safe and healthy. In addition, they help reduce the burden on family caregivers.
1. Embrace Technology
Technology can be a powerful tool for both caregivers and their loved ones. As long as you have the proper devices, you do not have to be a tech geek or computer whiz to make the most of them. For example, HandsFree Health’s WellBe voice-controlled smart speaker functions as a healthcare virtual assistant, providing detailed health information, medication reminders, appointment reminders, and more. Technology allows seniors to access the information and assistance they require when they need it, eliminating some of the stress and worry for caregivers who cannot always be there.
2. Evaluate the Home
Many homes do not support the needs of someone facing mobility or cognitive challenges. As a result, your home may need to be modified for safety and to make daily activities easier. Remodeling could mean setting up a bathroom with a walk-in shower and extra handrails or a ramp to the front door. Contact your local area agency on aging to inquire about services to allow individuals to age in place. Some agencies offer home evaluations to identify potential hazards. Or, you can sign up for programs like Meals on Wheels that will deliver nutritious meals on a predetermined schedule.
3. Prioritize Health
While health should always be important, it should become an even bigger priority as you or a loved one prepares to age in place. For example, you should compile and organize healthcare information. That way, in a medical event, doctors can react quickly instead of waiting for past health information. To do so, WellBe’s Virtual healthcare assistant and accompanying app make compiling and organizing a simple task. In addition to having healthcare information on hand, have a plan for getting exercise. Regular exercise drastically reduces aging and prolongs a healthy, active lifestyle. To assist you or a loved one in sticking to an exercise plan, the WellBe smartwatch monitors steps and heart rate.
4. Plan for Daily Tasks
Even if you or your loved one still drives, that may not always be possible. Have a plan in place to manage transportation for shopping, doctor’s appointments, and other excursions. It is also essential to determine how you or your loved ones will handle basic activities like chores and personal care. Many seniors who do not need full-time care still benefit from in-home assistance for bathing, dressing, meal prep, cleaning, laundry, and yard work.
5. Get Support
Finally, both caregivers and their loved ones need support for successful aging in place. To reap the benefits of aging in place, seniors need access to tools that can help them stay engaged and keep in touch with loved ones and friends. For example, a smart speaker that offers entertainment options and can contact friends and family with a simple voice command is a worthwhile investment toward this goal.
Get the Help You Need from HandsFree Health
Aging in place does not have to be a source of worry and stress. You can enjoy peace of mind and all of the benefits of growing old at home, with a solid plan and a little help from technology—like the WellBe Smart Speaker. Shop now, and start feeling safer and more secure today.