Help Your Aging Loved One Age in Place
This latest PersonalRX blog post focuses on the challenges facing older adults in their desire to age in place. Included is some research that explores the issues and costs involved in this decision as well as the role caregivers play in enabling their loved one to have more options as they deal with the health challenges of aging. At the end there is a link to our Caregiver eBook filled with helpful tips and suggestions.
Americans strongly prefer to stay in their homes as they grow older. AARP’s Home and Community Preferences survey revealed that about 75 percent of adults age 50 and older want to remain in their current residence or communities as they age, for as long as possible.
The AARP survey also revealed that about 83 percent of American adults often live with others and rely on one another for support. Sixty percent of these people are married or living with a partner, while only 17 percent live alone. About 13 percent of survey respondents said they act as a caregiver, so they help an adult loved one with personal needs, visits, transportation or managing medical care. And about 40 percent of those individuals live with the person for whom they provide care.
There are several reasons why older adults prefer to age in place, rather than live in a nursing home or assisted living facility including:
Maintaining independence. Aging individuals want to remain at home, even when they have physical challenges and symptoms of cognitive decline and stay as independent as possible. By modifying a bathroom or installing ramps, Individuals can retain their independence living at home and can still have some control over their decisions.
Emotional well-being. Seniors who age in their own homes can stay in a familiar environment, close to family and friends. They continue their routines and activities. Leaving home can be stressful to aging individuals, who are at risk of depression and associated decline.
Reduced risk of contracting bacterial infection and viruses. Often, moving into nursing homes and skilled care facilities may seem like a safer option for seniors compared to living at home. However, because of the constant proximity to others, the nursing home environment may be less safe than a home environment. During the pandemic, a study by the American Geriatrics Association found that coronavirus lurked and lingered in nursing home patients’ rooms on about 90 percent of surfaces.
Cost savings. The HUD Office of Policy Development and Research measured the costs and savings of aging in place and found that keeping an aging loved one in his or her home can yield potential savings. From 2004 to 2007, for instance, the median monthly payment for noninstitutional long-term care was $928, compared with $5,243 for nursing homes.
A majority of adults would consider sharing their home with a relative other than a spouse, or a friend as they grow older. About two-thirds of survey respondents said that if they were ill or had a disability, they’d prefer to have a combination of family members and paid professionals helping them, in their own homes.
As explained in AgingInPlace.org, caregivers perform a variety of duties for their aging loved one. These include:
Assisting with personal care. Bathing, grooming and dressing can be a challenge for older individuals. A caretaker can help with personal care, as well as facilitating exercise for those who are mobile.
Preparing food. As part of their responsibilities, caregivers can prepare food, as well as serving, cleaning dishes and shopping for groceries. They also assure that any special nutritional needs are addressed, especially those for a diagnosed condition.
Helping with mobility. Caregivers can help their loved one move around the home or provide transportation so that they can be out and socialize in their community. If the individual isn’t ambulatory, a caregiver can help get him or her in and out of a wheelchair as well as assist with therapeutic exercises.
Supervising activities and decisions. These may include choosing clothing to wear, what to eat and when to see a doctor. Caregivers also provide gentle encouragement to participate in social activities to keep their loved one from becoming reclusive.
Providing general health care. Many older people begin to experience some cognitive decline. It’s common for them to forget or get confused about their prescriptions. Caregivers can oversee drug intake and make sure that aging parents and loved ones take their medications on the prescribed days, at the right time intervals, and in the right combination.
Managing all of these responsibilities can become overwhelming. As a caregiver, you need all the help you can get to avoid getting burned out doing mundane tasks that take time away from caring for your loved one.
PersonalRX can give you back hours per week. Your Personal Care Coordinator works with doctors’ offices to manage prescription changes, copays and refills, and assures that you receive a full 30-day supply of medications when you need them. Dose packs are labelled and come with instructions, so patients know they’ll receive the right medications at the right time.
This gives you peace of mind and the ability to make your loved one’s life at home more comfortable. No more running out to wait on line at the pharmacy or spending hours sorting through multiple pill bottles. Your personal care coordinator can answer your questions. And a simplified medication regimen reduces stress for both you and your loved one.