When you or a loved one is growing older, the idea of a location change may come up. However, there are numerous benefits of staying at home. Discover why the elderly staying home can actually be far more beneficial than opting for a retirement community or nursing home.
Benefits of the elderly living at home
Maintain your independence.
Aging in place means you get to continue living a much more independent lifestyle. You have all your belongings, get to choose what activities you want to do, have visitors at any time of day, and eat what and when you want.
Be more comfortable.
Aging in place means you get to maintain all the comforts of home. Nursing homes can mean smaller living spaces and altered schedules that coincide with the other residents. Live life at your own pace and in your own space by opting to stay at home. You can sleep in or get up as early as you want, and plan your day according to what you want to do instead of having to coordinate with many other residents.
You can still receive all the healthcare you need from the comfort of your home. If you believe you need a bit of support around the house, there are numerous options to bring in help.
If you are taking care of elderly parents or considering your options for living at home, having a daily helper can relieve some concerns. Sometimes referred to as “granny nannies,” these home care helpers provide a companion to come by for a little extra care. These caring assistants are often medically trained for home health needs. They can ensure you or your loved one are taking the appropriate medications at the right times, help with meal prep, and even do some light housekeeping.
Having a granny nanny is especially helpful when family members’ schedules are a bit busy. Then visitors can stop by to socialize anytime knowing all your needs are being met.
Stay in close proximity to family and friends.
Perhaps the greatest thing about aging in place is the ability to have family and friends visit anytime. In your current home, you likely have some neighbors you know and trust. Your family certainly knows where you live, and hopefully they are in close proximity.
Nursing homes and retirement centers often have limited visiting hours and a check-in process, so although feasible, it makes it a bit more difficult to have visitors come and go leisurely.
If you or someone you know doesn’t live close to family or friends, CareLink offers a telephone reassurance program to seniors who spend three or more days a week without interaction. Contact the Information and Assistance department at 501-372-5300 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get signed up.
Increase your level of safety.
When you live in your own home, you are less likely to be exposed to illnesses and diseases. Your immune system weakens as you age, making you more vulnerable to contracting illnesses or diseases from the many others you would be exposed to in a senior community. CareLink’s fitness and wellness schedule offers active seniors multiple opportunities a week to stay healthy while they age, in turn boosting their immune system.
If you are taking care of an elderly parent and concerned about their safety, you can take extra steps to make them feel more secure in their own space. For example, medical alert systems like CareLink’s Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) offer special necklaces and bracelets with a call button should an elderly person be home alone and need some medical help when out of reach of their phones. You can also install doorbell cameras to clearly see who is at the door before answering it.
How can my family plan ahead for aging in place?
You and your family can plan ahead for any situation, whether you are elderly living alone, your spouse needs extra care, or you are a caregiver of an aging loved one. Start with determining what you might need help with.
Perhaps bathing or getting dressed is becoming more difficult. Can a friend or relative help, or would a trained aide be useful for a short time each day? Household chores can include cleaning, getting groceries, doing laundry, and exterior care like lawn services. You can outsource many of these to third parties, including grocery delivery services, which are gaining popularity.
For healthcare needs, you might feel more confident having someone stop by to make sure you have taken the right medication at the right times. You might also benefit from some simple reminders or special pill boxes with the medications already planned out.
A caregiver or CareLink Senior Companion volunteer could be a great asset if family is unable to meet the needs of an aging loved one. CareLink strives to ease the burden family caregivers often experience by connecting them with the resources to make their duties more manageable and their care more effective. If you or a loved one can use some guidance on homecare or respite care in Central Arkansas, contact CareLink today at (501) 372-5300.
Meals are another factor to consider. When seniors are living alone, they may opt to not cook as often or simply forget, leading to them not getting the proper nutrition. Meal delivery programs like CareLink’s Meals on Wheels may be a great option to overcome this, as well as eating out or planning potlucks with friends. Many senior centers and organizations in the community offer congregate meals for older people who might not be homebound, but are still unable to cook. Contact CareLink to find out about a location near you, or how your organization can offer those meals within the community.
You can plan ahead for money management assistance by deciding now who you would trust to help with bills and insurance forms. A trusted relative is ideal, but there are also resources with financial counselors for elderly. CareLink can help with legal assistance whether you’re just starting out or know your next steps.
Where can I get help?
Our Information and Assistance team is staffed with caring and committed social workers Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If you have any questions at all about aging, they are ready to answer and help you make the most of your golden years.
CareLink has a translation service available capable of translating more than 100 languages, including sign language.
CareLink is a nonprofit organization that helps homebound older people receive care that they need to age in place in Little Rock and surrounding areas. We offer services like HomeCare and Meals on Wheels to allow the elderly to stay at home and avoid more costly care. CareLink helps active older people stay fit, healthy, and involved through senior centers, wellness programs, and volunteer opportunities.