Happiness Is…Aging Gracefully at Home

Most seniors, if given a choice, would prefer to live in their homes instead of a long-term care facility. The comforts of home provide more happiness and security. However, this is not always the best choice if there is not a good support system of family and friends and available care services.

Happiness Is...Aging Gracefully at Home

In an effort to help keep your elderly loved ones in their homes for as long as possible, loved ones should consider a few issues and determing if they are equipped to keep an elderly family member at home for the long-term. Many of the needs of the elderly can be met either through family and friends or care services. Each item can extend the time that your loved one remains in their home.

1. Health and Personal Care.

Does your loved one need help washing their hair or monitoring when their medications are taken? There are many elder care services that will supply these specific services in an effort to keep seniors in their home. You will need to determine the types of services that your senior requires in order to select an appropriate home care provider.

An online referral company, 1-800-HOMECARE, states on its website, “Before starting a home health care agency search, it is important to determine which types of services you need. You may wish to consult with your physician, a hospital discharge planner, or a social service organization, such as an Area Office on Aging, for assistance in evaluating your needs.”

2. Interior and Exterior Home Maintenance.

Do you have the ability to help maintain the home and make repairs? Can a lawn maintenance service be hired? Will someone come and provide assistance with the laundry and the housekeeping? These are all very important questions that must be answered. Your loved one should not remain in their home if it is going to be too much for them to maintain. However, there are many services that you may contact that can assist if family members are not available.

3. Transportation Opportunities.

How will your elderly relative get around? Will they need a shuttle service for appointments and shopping? Will they require night time transportation? Many areas have transportation services set up exclusively for the elderly.

Many non-profits offer transportation for the elderly. You need to make sure that your loved one has access to transportation instead of relying on them to get behind the wheel, especially if they should not drive due to health conditions.

4. Home Modifications.

Can modifications be made to the home to enable the senior to move around more freely? Many times the installation of ramps, walk-in bath tubs, and the widening of doorways can provide seniors with the ability to provide for themselves.

5. Day Programs.

Are there day programs in your area where seniors can go to socialize and remain active? Often nick-named senior daycare, these programs are great for the mental health of the seniors, and provide care givers with some time off. This socialization is also very important to keeping the seniors from becoming lonely and depressed, which often occurs in those who have no social opportunities.

As you can see, with a little bit of effort, and a little bit of time making phone calls and researching local services, you can help your senior family member remain in their home for the longest time possible. This will help keep them feeling safe and secure, and it brings much deserved happiness.

Valerie Stout Cyrus is a freelance writer who frequently researches elder care options. She has found that 1-800-HOMECARE is a respected resource for finding professional home care services.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/britishredcross/4398796876/