It’s a common story. Mary is aging safely at home on her own. She has a few health problems, but sees her doctors regularly and takes her medications. Mary becomes ill or has a fall and ends up in the hospital. Everyone starts to see the situation from a new perspective. What will Mary do if she can’t drive or cook her meals? Is her home easy to navigate if she is unsteady? If Mary’s shoulder is injured from her fall, how will she take a bath and dress? What type of help can she access and afford? Are the documents in place to let her family step in to help while Mary is ill? The list of questions goes on and on.
While the future may not be ours to know, planning ahead makes sense. As our loved ones get older, such situations are likely. Ignoring the possibility only means we will be unprepared and left with few choices. We’ll share the key steps in planning and ensuring Mom or Dad can keep aging safely at home. While we don’t control the future, we do control what we do now to be ready for it.
Schedule a comprehensive planning review with a professional care manager.
Planning for Aging Safely at Home
Legal Documents/Advanced Care Planning
This is the foundation to be prepared for any crisis or need that might arise for your aging parents. Without the proper documents in place, everything can be needlessly complicated. According to the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, these documents include durable powers of attorney for health care and finances; advance health care directives such as a living will; a will and/or trust. Additionally, it is wise to make burial plans and document wishes for any anatomical donations.
While executing or updating these documents, it is also a good time to ensure your loved ones have access to the information they may need. Do they know your key contacts? Where are your documents located? A durable power of attorney or living will does no good when you’re in the hospital and it’s locked in a safe deposit box. Of course, documents should also be accompanied by discussions about your wishes. Don’t put an undue burden on your decision makers to have to guess what you’d want.
Finances: Budgeting for Aging Safely at Home
This goes hand in hand with the above. If you need help in your home, what can you afford? If your finances are limited, could you be eligible for assistance programs? How long (and what) would it take to access assistance? And, what do such programs offer?
Unfortunately, money remains a taboo topic among many families. Now is the time to get a handle on the financial situation. It also makes sense to simplify things, reducing accounts, bills, and paperwork. Since life changes, finances may need to also. Perhaps you need to reallocate finances to better meet your needs.
The physical environment will play a big role in aging safely at home. As we recently shared, falls are the #1 reason elders unexpectedly move to Assisted Living. However, it goes beyond falls to all kinds of incidents and inconveniences that your beloved home can cause.
Start taking a critical look at your environment with our Aging in Place Checklist. Small changes could make the difference in aging safely at home versus facing a crisis.
Of course, one of the best ways to age safely at home is by maintaining good health. Being healthy means you can function more independently. And, anytime you can prevent a health crisis such as a hospitalization, you avoid an array of potential complications. While this is not completely within our control, we can take steps to maximize our health. Additionally, as we age it is especially important to manage our health care properly.
We have lots of tips on how to start or keep up a healthy lifestyle at any age. And, it’s important to note that even small changes could make a big difference.
To properly manage healthcare, our care managers start by making sure we (and the client, family, and care team) understand the person’s health status and history. Many times, a client has disorganized records and various disconnected providers. Their family may have only vague ideas about their health conditions. It can be a nightmare to try to fill out paperwork for a surgery or hospitalization. And, when your healthcare is in such a state, your providers cannot do their best for you.
After getting things organized, we assist with proactive healthcare management such as:
- Tracking preventative care and ensuring you get all your screenings. Making sure you keep up with your doctor’s appointments and follow up. We use a shared calendar system to keep everyone on the same page. Additionally, we can help set up telehealth options for more easily managing health from home.
- Periodic assessments to spot common problems
- Medication reviews
- Remote condition monitoring using EasyLiving’s care technology
- Patient and caregiver education and support
Support for Aging Safely at Home
This is where we look at things like your support system, what functional limitations you face now or may in the future, and additional community resources. Aging safely at home could be possible for almost anyone, with the right support. The key is matching the support to your needs and examining the feasibility. Knowing what resources are available (or affordable/accessible) prevents unpleasant surprises. Before you promise a loved one, “we’ll make sure you can always stay in your home”, take steps to understand what that means.
Read more about support for aging safely at home.
Contact us today to start planning ahead. Aging safely at home with peace of mind is within reach. We’re here to help.