Maintaining Senior Independence
According to the NIA (National Institute for Aging), with the United States’ ongoing demographic shift toward an increasingly older population, along with the fact that 89% of Americans over age 50 wish to remain in their homes for as long as possible, conversations about the benefits and costs associated with aging in place will become increasingly critical.
*Reasons cited for wanting to age independently at home are:
• They feel independent in their current home
• Their current home is conveniently located
• They feel safe in their own home
• They’re familiar with their neighborhood and they live close to family
Why is this important?
Based on a recent HUD study, financial statistics recognize that aging in-home is a more economical choice: the median monthly payment for non-institutional long-term care was $928, compared to $5,243 for a nursing home.
Expenditures for nursing homes are more than three times those for long-term care services, and these rates continue to rise.
Approximately one-fifth of nursing home bills are paid either primarily or entirely out-of-pocket. *Out-of-pocket spending as a share of per capita Social Security income increased steeply with age, more than doubling from 34% for beneficiaries ages 65 to 74 to 74% among beneficiaries ages 85 and over, on average.
How do we prepare to age independently?
Dr. Geeta Nayyar, a nationally recognized leader in healthcare information, recommends five ways to help our aging loved ones maintain independence:
• Essential needs delivered to the door
• Preparing the home
• Ensuring health care measures
• In Case of Emergency
• Addressing emotional needs
Essential needs delivered to the door
Healthy eating is an essential component in ensuring physical and emotional well-being. Driving can be a challenging activity for seniors, which means basic needs like groceries and prescription refills need to be delivered to the door.
In 2014, three million seniors over 65 were victims of food insecurity, which means they did not have reliable access to sufficient quantities of affordable, nutritious food. Seniors who live on their own are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity.
Our trusted partner, Silver Cuisine, offers independence by delivering meals created with the specific nutritional needs of people 50+ in mind.
Preparing the home
Changes around the home can be basic and simple to do, and can provide family with an added measure of confidence in having a loved one age independently.
Common needs or hazards may arise in key areas like the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.
Ensuring health care adherence
Many hospital discharge regimens require the daily task of taking medicines or checking blood sugar levels, which may seem minor until there’s no one there to remind.
Using mobile health tools like medication dispensers and wellness checks from Direct Link® alleviates the pressure of managing multiple medications.
Companion care and in-home personal care is another easy way to help maintain independence in the home.
In case of emergency
According to the study “Gait variability and fall risk in community-living older adults: a 1-year prospective study,” 1 out of 3 adults age 65 and older falls each year. This can become a major crisis if no one is present to help if they fall.
A Direct Link® device allows users to easily and quickly call for Help At The Touch Of A Button™ and provide 24/7 response should someone suffer a mishap. Direct Link also provides balance between care and freedom. Devices include features like GPS capability, automatic fall detection and two-way phone communication, giving new meaning to elderly independence for the healthy aging population as well as those living with chronic conditions.
Addressing emotional needs
Feelings of loneliness can have health consequences among the elderly. Research indicates that loneliness increases the risk of an untimely death by 45% among the elderly, according to a study by the University of California, San Francisco.
Companion care is an easy solution to addressing the emotional needs of those who are aging independently in their home.
* University of Notre Dame professor, Marianne Cusato
* Kaiser Foundation
Call Home Helpers of Bradenton to Care for Your Loved One
Need better care for your senior loved one? Give Home Helpers of Bradenton a call. We provide companion care, personal care, homemakers services, and Alzheimer’s and dementia care so family members can rest easier. We help families in Manatee County in and around the communities of Anna Maria, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Ellenton, Holmes Beach, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat Key, Palmetto, Parrish, and North Sarasota. Call us at 941-999-1960, or visit us online at http://www.homehelpershomecare.com/bradenton/home.