What is Aging in Place?
Aging in place refers to older adults that wish to grow old in the comfort of their own homes. Studies show that well over 90% of people over 65 in Canada would prefer to age in place, rather than moving to an assisted living facility or retirement community.
What do so many seniors aspire to grow old at home?
Obviously, reasons will vary from person to person, but there are several consistent factors that influence seniors’ wishes to age in place.
Some of the most common arguments for remaining at home are:
- Attachment or connection to home
No one ever said that moving is a convenient and enjoyable endeavor. Even the most robust and able-bodied individual regards moving to a new a home as a daunting and onerous task.
For seniors with strength or mobility issues it can seem insurmountable.
Not moving is certainly more convenient. So is the familiarity of long-time neighbors, family and friends, and knowing where the useful amenities are.
Change can be very stressful for a lot of people. Especially for older adults that have been living with a similar routine for years.
Uprooting someone from a familiar routine and surroundings can be a horrifying prospect.
Most seniors want to age in a familiar environment for optimal comfort and independence.
Staying independent is of utmost importance to a very high percentage of seniors.
Moving to a retirement home has a massive impact on independent living.
Most retirement communities have strict rules about coming and going, visiting hours, and activities.
Seniors are subject to rigid schedule with not much room independent choice.
However, staying at home seniors can continue on with regular lifestyles and routines. Home care assistance is available for those that need a little extra help.
Attachment or Connection
A lot of people feel a very strong attachment to their homes. Especially if it is in the home or area they grew up in.
It can be very tough to move away from a place you feel a strong connection to.
Aging in place eliminates this concern.
Most people report a feeling of safety being at home. This is ideal not only for peace of mind, but also for healing.
Health problems are par for the course with age, and research shows that people recover from illness and injury much more quickly in a safe and comfortable environment.
How to Prepare for Aging in Place
There are several steps you can take that can make remaining at home a feasible prospect for years to come.
Some things to consider for seniors that wish to age in place, might be:
- Home safety
- Tax credits
- Home care
Making the home safe for seniors is one the biggest concerns of aging in place.
Falls in the home are one of the most common causes of serious injury for seniors. Safeguarding the home against falls is a wise move for injury prevention.
Installing grab rails, clearing wide walkways, removing excess clutter, and reorganizing are all good ways to improve home safety.
Tax breaks are available in Canada for modifications made to the home for the purpose of improved safety for seniors.
These modifications may include making the home more accessible, or to improve functionality, for older adults with mobility issues.
These tax returns would fall under the Home Accessibility Tax Credit (HATC).
Home care services are available for older adults that are struggling with daily tasks and activities.
Home care services are basically what make aging in place possible.
Without these services it would be entirely up to family members or friends to help with routine chores and errands.
In some cases, this is not even viable when family members do not live in close proximity.
The good news is that is assistance is available for almost any aspect of aging in place.
Caregivers can help your loved one retain independence by assisting with housekeeping, personal hygiene, social activity, and even the treatment and management of health conditions.