Planning Tips to Help You Enjoy Your Senior Years at Home
Being able to spend your senior years in your own home is a gift — but remaining safe as you enjoy it is of paramount importance. From mobility problems that make it difficult to navigate stairs to dementia that makes it difficult to remember to take medication, some modifications may have to be considered before staying at home can be a safe possibility. National Safe at Home Week, celebrated every August, is an opportunity to prevent potential accidents at home. So if you or a loved one is looking at senior care options in San Mateo and elsewhere, you’ll want to keep reading.
According to the National Safety Council, 175,500 preventable injury-related deaths occurred in homes and communities in 2021, equal to about 78% of all preventable injury-related deaths for that year. This raises the concern of senior safety in the home and why it’s so important to address.
Here are some tips for planning ahead that will allow you to enjoy your senior years at home.
Making a Plan to Age in Place
It’s difficult to plan for life events ahead of time because it’s unclear how your needs may change. It’s helpful to first think about what kind of help you would want in the near future. This is important especially if you currently live alone but will need someone to be around to care for you, bring you to appointments, clean your house, and cook meals. But don’t discount the need for extra help even if you still live with a spouse or other loved one, as you don’t want to tax their resources either.
To start the planning process, think about any illnesses you have, such as diabetes or emphysema. Have a conversation with your doctor about how those health problems may hinder your ability to get around or take care of yourself later on.
Here are some things to think about as you plan for support.
- Get support. Reach out to your local Area Agency on Aging.
- Personal care. Is it getting increasingly difficult to bathe, wash your hair, or get dressed for the day on your own? Maybe you can enlist the help of a friend if your needs aren’t too great. If you have even greater needs, consider hiring a trained aide for a few hours a day to cook you a meal, do light housework, take you to the doctor, and just provide companionship.
- Household chores. Housecleaning, yard work, laundry, and grocery shopping often become difficult to handle when you get older. Consider ordering groceries online and have them delivered to your home. Hire a landscaper to mow your lawn and tend your garden. Look into a dry-cleaner service to pick up and drop off your clothes.
- Meals. As we age, it’s tough to find time to make nutritious meals or even remember to eat. Appetites naturally decrease with age, but you still need to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need on a daily basis. Perhaps you could share cooking with a neighbor, or maybe there is a Meals on Wheels program through your local senior center or church that delivers meals to homebound seniors. Private food delivery services can be set up so you get plenty of healthy meals to freeze and eat as needed.
- Money management. If you’ve been missing bill payments lately or have forgotten to do them at all, it’s time to ask for help. Perhaps a spouse or adult child can help you pay bills, fill out health insurance forms, etc. Financial counselors and geriatric care managers can also help. Pay regular bills online whenever you can, but don’t fall victim to scams. Do not give out your Social Security number, credit card numbers, banking information, or other sensitive information over the phone or online.
- Health care. If you’ve been forgetting to take your medicine on an increasingly frequent basis, purchase special pill boxes that can be filled for the whole week and that alert you when you need to take your pills.
Common Concerns About Staying at Home
While you may relish the idea of staying in your home as you age, you may still have concerns about your safety, mobility, and other activities of daily life. Here are some things to think about:
Getting around: If you have trouble walking, invest in a cane or walker. As needs progress, you may need a wheelchair or scooter. Sometimes, Medicare covers these items. If you no longer drive, sign up for a volunteer escort service for transportation to the doctor’s offices or shopping.
Finding activities and friends. If you are prone to being bored at home, look into the activities offered by your local senior center. If you can’t leave your home, have a volunteer or an aide come by a few times a week to keep you company.
Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice
Our home health care team is comprised of nurses, physical therapists, aides, social workers, and dietitians to ensure the safety and well-being of your senior loved one who has chosen to age in place. Learn more when you call us at 888-978-1306.