If your parents have expressed an interest in remaining in their home, your family may be discussing if this is the best option available. Often referred to as aging-in-place, it’s important to ensure that where they live meets their physical and cognitive needs.
What is aging-in-place?
Growing older wherever one decides to call home is a basic definition of aging-in-place. For your parents, this could occur in their existing house, if they move in with one of their children or if they choose to make their home in a senior living community.
If your loved ones are considering staying in their current home, you’ll want to assess its safety, as well as the support and services available if help is needed with basic tasks, such as bathing, preparing meals or housekeeping.
Is the home safe for aging-in-place?
Most homes in the United States were not built with aging in mind. In fact, a 2020 study released by the U.S. Census Bureau discovered that less than 10% of homes were age-ready, which is defined as having the following:
- Step-free entryway
- First-floor bathroom
- First-floor bedroom
- At least one bathroom accessibility feature, such as grab bars or shower seat
If you and your parents are considering whether their home would provide a safe and supportive environment to age-in-place, the following questions may help reveal the answer:
1. Is the home accessible?
Consider if any accessibility features would be needed or what obstacles might interfere with safety. Are steps required to enter the home or are there stairs to the bedroom or laundry room? Will the house need extensive or expensive renovations to meet any present or future needs?
2. Are there tripping hazards in the home?
Easy fixes include removing throw rugs or making sure all carpets are firmly attached. But also take note of areas where the floor surfaces change – especially when transitioning from hardwood or tile to carpet – which can increase the risk of tripping.
3. Is the lighting adequate?
Ensure each room has enough lighting to eliminate any dim areas or shadows that may make it hard for your parents to see clearly. If needed, install additional overhead lighting and relocate switches to be easily reached.
4. Is the neighborhood safe and age-friendly?
Has your parents’ neighborhood changed over the years and is no longer as safe as it once was? Is it walkable so your parents are encouraged to safely go for a stroll without navigating buckling or missing sidewalks?
5. Does your parent live alone?
If your parent lives alone, aging-in-place can be more of a challenge. Create a plan in case your loved one becomes ill or injured and needs help. You may want to consider providing an emergency pendant that can be activated if assistance is needed.
Other features needed for your parents to successfully age-in-place
Aging well requires more than just an accessible home environment, such as those features that promote the ability to live a high quality of life.
Consider the following and whether remaining at home will provide the needed support:
1. Do your parents feel independent and in control of their lives?
An important contributor to life satisfaction is having control. Independence doesn’t mean help is not needed but that the person is involved in making their personal decisions.
2. Do your parents need help with tasks of daily living?
Are your parents able to bathe safely, dress and manage their medications? If this is becoming a struggle, is assistance available from family or home care services?
3. Do your parents have friends and the opportunities to socially engage?
Remaining connected with others greatly influences the ability to age and live well. However, it can become more difficult with age. Are your parents interacting or becoming isolated?
4. Do your parents still drive or are there other transportation options available?
No longer driving can mean a loss of independence for many older adults. If your parents no longer drive, can they attend events and make appointments?
5. Are your parents active and staying in shape?
Staying physically and cognitively active contributes greatly toward optimum health. Do your parents have access to fitness centers, classes and other opportunities to stretch both their bodies and minds.
Aging-in-place can occur wherever your parents call home
Home is wherever your parents choose and for many, making that home in a senior living community offers the type of support and amenities needed to truly help individuals live their best lives.
If remaining in their existing home is not the right choice, your parents may want to consider moving to an assisted living community, where they’ll still have their own private home but the added advantage of help whenever needed.
They’ll also find the following benefits that can support them not only to age-in-place, but thrive:
- Accessible private residence
- Support to live an independent live
- Assistance with tasks of daily living
- Activities and fitness classes
- Opportunities to socialize and make friends
- Healthy and delicious dining programs
- Scheduled transportation
- Safety and security features
The Charleston Senior Community
Locally owned and operated, we offer personalized care by our dedicated team members. Setting a new standard in Assisted Living and Memory Care, we don’t define our residents by their limitations or illness but instead believe in focusing on the positive and the possibility.
The Charleston Senior Community includes private apartments for assisted living residents and for those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Your loved ones will benefit from our attention to detail, routine health assessments, delicious dining and daily activity programs as we support everyone to live their best life.
Consider a few of our amenities:
- Chef-led dining program
- Community movie theater
- Live entertainment
- Outdoor patio
- Social lounges
If you or your family is thinking about Assisted living or Memory care, we hope you will consider The Charleston Senior Community. We are a trusted resource and are here to answer any questions. We also invite you to download our complimentary guide to help when deciding between home and senior living, Should You Stay or Should You Go?