By 2030, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts 1 in 6 people will be age 60 or older. In the US alone, we know that 10,000 people turn 65 years of age every day.
Aging in place means choosing to stay in your home with family and friends instead of moving to an assisted living facility or retirement home. As patient advocates, we know everyone’s aging process is unique. However, if it’s possible, aging in place enables them to better manage their lives and stay connected to loved ones, and is usually more cost-effective than moving.
How to Age in Place Successfully
As patient advocates, we believe that people can successfully age in place when they have a comprehensive plan that is unique to them and knows the resources available to them. We believe the following are the keys to successful aging-in-place plans. Timely and appropriate healthcare, household and financial management, companionship, social activities, physical activities, transportation, safety, and patient advocates as care managers(trusted family members).
Traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans can be very overwhelming. Are health insurance forms confusing to you? As you age you may have more questions about health care. Here are a few pointers to help you along. If you feel overwhelmed, a patient advocate can help you navigate through all things healthcare.
- Regular visits with healthcare professionals for check-ups and to address any health concerns.
- Medical conditions causing an overall decline in physical and mental function can affect a person’s ability to age in place. Getting support with these conditions as early as possible with adjustments to your aging plan may be critical to successful aging in place.
- Wearable devices can help with detecting falls, call emergency services for you, monitor heart rate, oxygen levels, physical activity levels (count your steps), and much more.
- Reminder to take your medication and supplements or even drink water.
Household and Financial Management
As you age you may need some support with regular housekeeping services which can include general cleaning, meal prep, grocery shopping, laundry, etc. Along with needing assistance with these things comes the worry of finances and how to pay for these things. You may have a trusted relative to lend a hand. Some volunteers, financial counselors, or patient advocates can also help.
Do you worry about paying bills late or not at all? Finances may be a big worry as you age. Using auto drafts or having a patient advocate support you through this transition may give you peace of mind. Always check all bills, including utility bills, for charges you do not recognize. Be careful to avoid money scams. Never give your Social Security number, bank or credit card numbers, or other sensitive information to someone on the phone.
Companionship and Social Activities
Having regular companionship can meet your emotional and social needs as you age. Connect with your loved ones as often as possible. Pets may also be an option for companionship, especially if you are facing loneliness and stress. Join groups for hobbies or interests, and volunteer activities may contribute to your social activities.
Be intentional by engaging in physical activities to support your health. Exercise and strength training exercises support aging healthy. Walking around your house or an evening stroll can definitely help keep you moving.
As you age your health may affect your ability to drive. Do you know what modes of transportation are available to you? A local bus, shuttle, taxi, Uber, or Lyft services may be options.
Keeping your home safe and accessible is very important as you age. Having an open nonslip bathroom with grab bars is a great place to start. You may need shower chairs, adjustable beds, and more. Home security systems can help you feel safe and protected.
Patient Advocates as Care Managers
Patient advocates can help seniors live independently and safely in their own homes for as long as possible by providing education, advocacy, coordination of care, and resources to make their daily lives easier. They will work continuously with an up-to-date long-term care plan. Patient advocates can be very helpful when family members live far apart. Learn more about patient advocates in one of our past blogs https://whitleyptadvocates.com/what-is-an-independent-patient-advocate/