Aging in place

According to AARP, more than 75 percent of older adults wish to remain in their homes as they age. Of course! Home is where we feel the most comfortable. With the appropriate social support, home modifications, and home care assistance, it is possible to age well in place—even for “solo agers,” who do not have children who can help with their care.

When we partner with our clients, our goal is to create a plan that will allow them to be safe, happy, and as healthy as possible. Looking at the whole person, we believe that quality of life—the joy in each day—is as important as safety. Often that joy comes from connecting with others, so we also address issues of community connection, loneliness, and social isolation.

With an Aging in Place consultation, you gain a solid understanding of your loved one’s strengths and weaknesses and the problems that are likely to develop in the near term. Together we can plan for home modifications and social support that will prevent/reduce common challenges such as falling, wandering, or depression. Looking at family resources, we will create a plan that works optimally for everyone involved.

Give us a call at 302-200-9719.

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Comprehensive assessment

Our Aging in Place consultations start with a comprehensive assessment.
We evaluate strengths and weaknesses in the following areas:

  • Cognitive abilities (memory, logic, planning abilities, etc.)
  • Medical conditions and medications
  • Functional activities of daily living (assessing any challenges with bathing, dressing, shopping, cooking, eating/swallowing, managing finances)
  • Mobility (safety with moving from sit to stand, walking inside the home, stair climbing, getting in and out of a car, walking outside on uneven surfaces, etc.)
  • Transportation challenges
  • Social isolation and community engagement
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Home safety evaluation/assessment

Informed by our background in physical therapy and over thirty-five years working in elder care, we look for hazards in the home and present solutions so that the home environment supports independence and socialization. That might mean simple changes for fall prevention, such as grab bars in the bathroom and removal of throw rugs. Or it may be that more extensive modifications are in order, such as better lighting in hallways, adding a bathroom for first floor living, adding a chair lift to the second floor, or replacing doorknobs with levers for arthritic hands. If dementia is part of the picture, perhaps adjustments need to be made to reduce the chance of wandering. There are many ways that the physical environment can promote safety and well-being.

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Loneliness and social isolation

Loneliness and social isolation are significant problems when aging in place. They affect our mental and physical health, in addition to our general level of happiness. We are social beings, and even a natural introvert or loner needs to have some casual contact. A homebound lifestyle tends to result in poor health and a lower quality of life. This is why we pay attention to facilitating community connection. Those who live alone need to strategize to make socializing easier.

To reduce social isolation and encourage continued connection with family, friends, and community, we may look at mobility devices and/or strengthening and endurance programs that encourage getting out and about outside the home. From the most suitable walker, to a ramp, or educating caregivers on how to safely assist you/your loved one, we strive to remove barriers to physically leaving the house.

Senior transportation
Did you know that the average person outlives their ability to drive safely by seven to ten years? What happens when driving is no longer an option? Many homes are not on a bus line, thus older adults end up effectively homebound. Part of our consultation involves exploration of senior transportation options (paratransit, Uber, private wheelchair transport, volunteers …) and an expanded social support network. We help identify people who might assist with transportation to worship, shopping, or other social gatherings.

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In-home care

Especially for those who live alone, the time will likely come when home care assistance will be needed for preparing meals, bathing, dressing, etc. Many people are surprised to learn that Medicare does not cover ongoing caregivers for assistance with your personal care in the home. We can help you estimate costs and find the best home care available for your budget.

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Family caregiver support

Spouses are typically the first to provide necessary care, but often they neglect their own health. While one member of the partnership may more obviously need help, we also look at the strengths and abilities of the other. What help are they giving now? How long can they continue to do that? What are their risks for falling or getting hurt? What about the support that will be needed in the future?

Very often it is daughters and sons who reach out for help caring for elderly parents. If you live close enough, you may be able to jump in, but more than likely you have your own family and work responsibilities. Sometimes the parent–child relationship may not be one where giving assistance would be comfortable. If you live far away, the task is twice as hard and so is the guilt and emotional strain.

Part of our Aging in Place consultation involves realistically assessing the family resources in terms of what family members can do to pitch in, as well as funds available to hire help. Sometimes all that is needed is caregiver education, for instance, for sundowner’s syndrome or for handling the emotional outbursts of dementia.

If you or a loved one would like to age in place but you are not sure if it’s safe or wise, give us a call at 302-200-9719 and schedule an Aging in Place consultation.

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