There are now more senior care possibilities available than ever before. If you’re a family caregiver supporting a senior loved one, it’s important to note that there’s no single best choice. Options like aging in place, home health, assisted living, and nursing homes each offer a unique list of benefits and the right decision for your senior loved one can be made by carefully considering your relative’s personality, needs, wishes, and finances.
What is Aging in Place?
A senior who is aging in place continues to live in their own home as they get older, instead of moving to a senior care community. Aging in place remains a popular choice due to its perceived cost-effectiveness and the level of independence it can help some seniors maintain. Many seniors also prefer to remain in the familiarity of their own home or close to family during retirement. While aging in place has some significant advantages, it can also present various challenges for seniors and their family caregivers.
Here are four of the most important needs family caregivers should consider when helping seniors age in place.
1. Mobility and Safety
Declining mobility is a common challenge that seniors face. It can significantly affect their safety and independence when aging in place. Many private homes are not designed for mobility, with hazards like uneven or slippery surfaces, steep staircases, low bathtubs, or inaccessible kitchen cupboards. If your loved one has poor mobility but wishes to age in place, evaluate their living space and establish how you can make it as safe as possible. These adjustments may be small or large, from removing rugs and tripping hazards to installing a fully accessible bathroom. If your loved one’s home needs a lot of work to fully meet their needs, it may be worth seeking the professional opinion of a trusted occupational therapist.
2. Daily Activities
As they age, many seniors find essential daily activities like bathing, cooking, dressing, and taking medication more complex. These tasks, known as activities of daily living (ADLs), are crucial for maintaining a healthy and happy lifestyle. Without the ability to successfully master ADLs, seniors may suffer emotional, physical, and mental well-being. If your loved one is choosing to age in place, it’s important to monitor their needs and ensure they’re receiving the right level of ADL support. If they simply need help with a few quick tasks each day, family members may be able to offer adequate support. However, if your loved one requires more complex personal care assistance at home, it might be necessary to seek additional support from a home health service.
3.Socialization and Enrichment
Barriers like reduced mobilities of a spouse, sibling, or friend during retirement. These barriers and experiences can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation or prevent seniors from enjoying hobbies and seeking out new experiences. If your loved one has chosen to age in place, you may wish to consider groups and classes for seniors in their area (your local senior center may be able to help with this). Offering to provide transportation so they can meet with friends and family is another great, simple way to support the social life of a senior living at home.
4. Well-being of Family Caregivers
Providing senior care for a loved one can take a significant toll on family caregivers. If your relative has complex healthcare needs, poor mobility or struggles to carry out ADLs, these feelings may be even more pronounced. While meeting your loved one’s needs is vital, you deserve to have your own needs met, too. If you find that providing care is leaving you feeling stressed, isolated, or unhappy, or if it’s detrimentally affecting other areas of your life like work or relationships, don’t ignore it. Adopting self-care strategies like going outdoors each day or prioritizing sleep and nutrition may sometimes be enough to help. In other circumstances, you may need to seek out more practical support from family members, friends or service providers like home health or assisted living, and lack of transportation often prevent seniors from getting out and socializing as they once did. Many seniors also suffer the lo
How Assisted Living Can Address These Needs
While aging in place can be the perfect option for some seniors, others may benefit from the support of an assisted living community. Assisted living offers the ideal compromise for seniors keen to remain as independent as possible but require some help to continue living a fulfilling life. In a senior living community, residents live in their apartment or a shared home. Within this community, specially adapted for individuals with reduced mobility, they can remain as independent as possible with access to 24/7 ADL assistance as needed. Senior living can also serve as an excellent point of contact and support system for family caregivers, providing a listening ear, expert advice, and valuable peace of mind.
Senior living communities usually offer meal plans for residents, eliminating the need for cooking and grocery shopping. At Argent Court, we take this a step further by serving fresh, chef-prepared meals that caters to each resident’s unique dietary preferences and needs. Seniors in assisted living also typically have access to recreational, physical, spiritual, or social activities like bingo, yoga, cooking, and dancing. Not every assisted living community is built the same, so there’s bound to be an option to suit your loved one and allow them to thrive in retirement. For example, Argent Court offers apartments with a small personal kitchenette, ideal for seniors who love to prepare a healthy snack. We’re also proudly pet-friendly, welcoming animal-loving residents and their loyal companions.
How to Choose Between Aging in Place and Assisted Living
If you’re still wondering whether aging in place or assisted living will be best for your loved one, there really is no ‘right’ answer. Each option has its own benefits, and what works for one senior may not work for the next. As a family caregiver, you know your loved one best. Aging in place can offer comfort and familiarity at a lower cost for seniors with fewer care needs. On the flipside, assisted living can offer a balance of independence, professional care, adapted facilities, and social interaction at a great price for those who require additional support.
If you’re interested in discovering how assisted living could support your loved one, get in touch to arrange a tour of Texas’ supportive and social Argent Court communities.