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  • Writer's pictureSherry Boothby

Aging in Place- Things to Consider

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines Aging in Place as: “the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.” Aging in place promotes life satisfaction, a positive quality of life, and self-esteem—all of which are needed to remain happy, healthy, and well into older adult life. According to AARP, a 2021 survey showed that “more than three-quarters of U.S. adults age 50 and older want to stay in their current homes for as long as possible.” Yet “less than 10 percent of U.S. homes are ‘aging-ready,’” a study by the U.S. Census Bureau found.  Fortunately, many options exist to make your home a safer, more accommodating place. With a few adjustments, you can gain a sense of security and peace of mind while continuing to live independently.

Falls and subsequent injury are a health and financial burden on older persons and their families, as well as a financial burden on the healthcare system. A home safety assessment (either by a professional or a self-assessment checklist) along with some low-cost modifications can serve to effectively reduce falls and injury in older adults. Examples of steps at home to decrease your risk for falls include:

  • If you use area rugs, secure the edges with double sided tape.

  • Install grab bars near toilets and in the tub or shower.

  • Avoid falls by placing no-slip strips or non-skid mats on surfaces that may get wet.

  • Place light switches at the top and bottom of stairs and use motion sensor night lights.

  • Ensure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each level of the home.

Additionally, you should arrange furniture to ensure clear walking paths and check for anything in the house that could be a trip hazard. When it comes to falls, medical alert devices are among the most effective tools seniors can have. This technology can significantly ease worries and stress surrounding falls for both the elderly and their family. Medical alert devices are offered as a stationary system or mobile, worn around the neck or wrist. Some systems can automatically detect falls and call for help. Others have a button that can be pushed in an emergency.

Common concerns regarding aging in place can include: getting around at home and in the community, finding activities and friends, safety issues, getting help during the day, finding services, financial planning, and where to start with long term care planning.  Specially trained professionals- Geriatric Care Managers/Aging Life Care Professionals- can help find resources to make your daily life easier. They will work with you to form a long-term care plan and find the services you need. You can also check with your local Area Agency on Aging.

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