Helping a parent or loved one age in place

More seniors than ever before are choosing to stay in their homes as they age. This arrangement allows them to retain independence while receiving necessary health care and support services.

If you help care for a parent or older family member who wants to live in his or her own home, these tips can help him or her age in place safely and successfully.

Talk about wants and needs

Aging in place allows your loved one to use only the services he or she needs to live independently. For example, your parent may need help with housekeeping, cooking or driving, or may require the care of a visiting nurse. Decide which tasks your family can take on and which may require outside assistance. Over time, you can add more care as needed, even if your loved one eventually needs live-in assistance.

Make sure the home is safe

If your parent’s home has treacherous stairs, an expansive yard or several stories, aging in place may not be the best choice unless he or she can move to a more suitable location. However, many properties simply need a bit of updating to prevent falls and other safety risks. Look into simple renovations such as shower seats, handrails on stairs and nonslip mats that can facilitate your loved one’s independence.

Establish a support network

When family members and friends live nearby, aging in place is a safe solution for many seniors. However, because you may also be caring for your own children and/or working full-time, you also want to create a supportive community your parent can rely on when you are not able to be by his or her side. Check with Area Agencies on Aging to find senior resources in your area such as day programs, support groups and social activities.

As with other types of long-term care, careful financial planning will improve the likelihood of successful aging in place. Talk to your loved one about this issue before he or she becomes incapacitated and may be unable to express wishes for medical and functional care.

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Kevin Tharpe

With 25 years of experience, Kevin understands how estate planning, special needs planning, and government benefits programs work together. This is a crucial element of a thorough plan. He explains your eligibility for benefits programs and ensures that you do not make costly mistakes that may disqualify you or deplete your assets.

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