The majority of us want to stay in our house as long as we can, so why wouldn’t our parents? We often overlook that the desire to “stay put” is only feasible if the house and community are equipped for the physical, nutritional, emotional, and social needs of aging individuals. Here are a few tips:
Make the House Safe: The number one cause of the loss of freedom or death for people over the age of 60 is falls. A key component is to live in a one story house with a floorplan that is one level. Multi-story, multi-level houses add obstacles that are both expensive and complicated to remedy. There are other factors including no-step entries, wide doorways and hallways, non-slip surfaces, good lighting, and lever door handles that will make a house more accessible and safe.
Use Technology to Your Advantage: You probably already have some devices to make it easier to both monitor and interact with someone who wants to stay put. Smartphones and notebook computers are a great way to communicate. Their GPS tracking capabilities can also be used to monitor the location of elders who have cognitive decline or memory impairment.
Use Outside Organizations: “Villages” are becoming more popular in many communities. These are organizations which usually require a membership and offer both volunteer and paid services. The services are designed to assist with activities of daily living such as transportation, shopping, and household chores. They can also provide referrals to other services related to the house or medical care. “Villages” often host social events to encourage members to engage in activities that stimulate the mind, keep the body moving, and create meaningful connections.
These are but a few of the ways and services that can assist people as they choose to stay put. Most people are not aware of these unless they have volunteered for such organizations. A good place to start is the “Resources” tab on our resource hub. Also, you can contact your local area agency on aging.
This blog is a part of our ongoing partnership with Growing Bolder Magazine. To see the full publication and our other contributions, feel free to visit their website.