Today, more than 90% of adults would prefer to “age in place,” meaning live independently as long as they can wherever they call home. However, according to research done by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, only a small percentage of people do any actual planning to make aging in place an attainable goal. The reason many study participants hadn’t planned was simple- they didn’t know what support they would need.
Most people consider the physicality of living in their home. Pull-bars, ramps, lift chairs are the common things we visualize when we say, “aging in place.” Today, we will dig into the 4 things people commonly overlook when they are making their plans to live independently at home as they age.
- Socialization & Mental Stimulation
Many seniors end up living alone, without a spouse to accompany them. Sadly, this can lead to isolation and, more severely, depression.
“Mental health is a top concern of ours when working with seniors,” shares Emma Dickison, CEO, and President of Home Helpers® Home Care. “Our exceptional Caregivers do so much more than housekeeping or personal care; they become part of the extended family. Many Home Helpers’ Caregivers have shared over the years- the most rewarding part of this job is the relationships they build with their clients. This kind of genuine connection cannot be replicated.”
When considering aging in place, consider the amount of time you or your loved one will be alone and determine if having a home care aid could be beneficial. No one likes to be bored. Seniors should enjoy such a great season of life.
“Our Caregivers play games, take people out, garden with their clients, whatever the client enjoys, our team works into the plans,” continued Dickison.
- Meal Preparation
As mobility changes, often shopping for groceries, prepping, and preparing meals can become more taxing. Seniors will often opt for something quick and easy to overcome this obstacle. These easy solutions don’t always help manage chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease or even comply with seniors' needed nutrition.
One solution can be using a home care agency to assist with meal planning, shopping, and preparation. “At Home Helpers, our Caregivers will even prep food for additional days, so their clients have healthy ready-to-eat meals that they will enjoy,” said Dickison. “Another alternative is to look for a company that offers ready-to-eat meals prepared for special dietary requirements. We’ve partnered with Clean Eats Kitchen and Silver Cuisine to offer our clients affordable, healthy meal options that fit most dietary considerations.”
- Overcoming small obstacles
One of the most challenging obstacles adult children have in assisting their aging parents is handling unforeseen issues- many of which are non-medical. From getting locked out to being temporarily misplaced to occasional falls, these minor incidents can be frustrating to all involved. Developing an action plan for these incidents in advance can make all the difference.
“We know the amount of commitment it takes to be a family caregiver, even if you have support from a partner like Home Helpers. That’s why we’ve added completely customizable assistance services. These services combine wearable technology with a team trained to manage calls and implement protocols that you as a family have designed. If there is a medical emergency, our first order is dispatching EMS. But in all scenarios, our team stays connected with the senior until everything is resolved. Our team even calls later to check that everything is alright,” shared Dickison. Customizable protocols allow Home Helpers to monitor these incidents looking for trends that may indicate a change to the care plan is needed.
- Medication Compliance
Improper medication usage is one of the leading causes of hospitalizations for seniors. Failing to take medication properly can come from forgetting to take medication or not getting prescriptions refilled. Determining a process for this can save you unnecessary visits to the ER and costly medical bills.
“In working with healthcare networks across the country, we found that medication adherence is a significant issue and worked to partner to solve it. Our Wellness Call program provides wake-up or tuck-in calls to check on clients and provide them with a set of customized questions to ensure they are well and taking any necessary medication. Our Caregivers can even pick up needed prescriptions too,” continued Dickison.
Planning for the changes in mobility, health, and socialization are essential when developing an Aging in Place plan. These factors were the inspiration for Home Helpers Home Care’s new Cared-4 Program. “Our goal at Home Helpers has always been the same, helping people remain independent at home as long as they choose” continued Dickison.
Innovative programs like Home Helpers’ Cared-4 Program are designed to be flexible, affordable, and meet the changing needs of you or your loved ones.