There is little need to argue the fact that most people would rather stay in their own home as they age. This has become known as ‘ageing in place’, an aged care term defining the act of living in the residence of your choice for as long as possible with the home care services or supports you need as your level of independence changes.
The definition highlights an important point. As age diminishes our bodies and capabilities, the focus turns to how we maintain the quality of our daily lives. How long can we manage on our own? And when we no longer can, what level of support, home care, personal care and nursing care will we need and at what point?
To age in the place of our choice, it is vital to make a plan; one that allows us to be certain that we are covering all bases when it comes to the practicalities of life.
It’s never too early to explore the options and be prepared.
- How can we stay safely in our own homes as we age?
Home remodelling should be one part of our ageing in place plan. As we age, our reduced vision, mobility, balance, and muscle strength can lead to an increased risk of falls and serious injury. This has a devastating impact on our overall wellbeing and often leads to pressure to enter residential aged care.
It’s relatively simple to implement measures that keep us much safer in our own homes. We can do this by:
- using non-slip mats in the bathroom and removing unnecessary floor rugs
- installing grab rails in bathrooms and toilets and remodelling old-fashioned showers to avoid tripping hazards
- mopping spills and avoiding walking on wet floors
- always getting help lifting or moving items that are heavy or awkward to manoeuvre
- decluttering our home and rearranging the furniture to create walkways that are easy to navigate
- ensuring that all areas of the home and outside pathways are properly lit
- taking regular strength and balance training offered by gyms or community centres
- How are we going to get out and about?
Driving is another thing we take for granted until it’s gone. Why not? We’ve been doing it our whole adult lives and it barely registers how much we rely on driving to do our shopping, get to appointments, or head out to socialise with friends. Yet once we lose our vision, hearing, and coordination, we’re no longer legally able to drive, and we suddenly find ourselves much less independent and much less connected to our community.
This may seem a long way off yet, but just having a contingency plan takes the edge off the pain when we do lose this independence. What is the next best option? we should ask. What is the public transport like in my area? Can I carpool with friends or family? Should I try online deliveries? Can I access transport services?
- How do we stay connected with our friends and community as our mobility decreases?
One of the main reasons ageing in place is important to us is because we’re connected to our community and enjoy our social network. Yet reduced mobility can leave us feeling isolated and alone, waiting on others to visit us instead of having the freedom to get out and see the world.
Engaging our network of family and close friends is vital as we age. Setting up little traditions where friends and family gather for regular catchups is also important: it ensures that we stay involved in the lives of our loved ones. But what about familiarising ourselves with technology and social media? This is another way to stay in touch and have meaningful conversation even when we’re not face to face.
Private Care helps you consider your ageing in place options. We can arrange for an assessment of your home and needs, drive you to appointments or social outings, fill in the gaps with housework and preparing meals, or provide trained carers and nurses to help with personal care, or more complex health needs.
Whatever you need to age well in your own home, we’re here to help.
When you are ready to speak to one of our advisors, please call 1300 559 260.