Successful Aging In Place
Aging in place is defined as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level.” A major element of successful aging in place is the use of in home care givers in conjunction with good medical care.
“As someone ages, in home care can help continue making daily living comfortable and safe,” says Felicia Miller, owner and operator of Miller Home Care, a Wisconsin area, in home care agency. “In home care isn’t something that necessarily needs to signal a major life shift. An in home care giver can just help make minor modifications to assist in making life easier.”
One of the most common issues the elderly face is depression. The changes that often come in later life—the death of loved ones, increased isolation, medical problems—can lead to depression. Depression may prevent seniors from enjoying life like they used to. It also impacts someone’s energy, sleep, appetite, and physical health. A major part of successful aging is to be able to prevent depression.
Some of the important factors for “successful aging in place” are:
- A positive attitude, realistic perspective, and the ability to adapt to change (for example, humor, altruism, and anticipation).
- Security and stability in living environment
- Health and wellness, including prevention of disease and disease-related disability, maintenance of high cognitive and physical function, healthy exercise and nutrition, the absence of smoking, high quality health care, the ability to manage stress, and minimal pain.
- Active engagement with life, including being socially involved, participating in stimulating activities, learning, feeling a sense of purpose in life, and being useful to others and to society.
While some of these factors may be difficult for the individual to control, many are within our control and an in home care giver/ senior care specialists can assist the aging individual with many of them.
Family, friends and the caregiver can encourage active participation in activities and offer a strong support network. Modeling a positive attitude and using humor to deal with your own challenges can help someone to use these tools in his/her own life. Here are some steps you can take to promote successful aging (for you or someone you care about):
- Take advantage of preventative health care screenings covered by Medicare. Help a friend/loved one make appointments; provide rides to the doctor.
- Get some exercise every day, even if it is a short walk or stretching/chair exercises. Consider hiring a personal trainer that specializes in older adults.
- Keep Their mind engaged. Have them do puzzles, read/discuss articles or books, stay updated on current events, play computer games (there are even some specially designed to help with cognitive abilities), volunteer. Let your elder loved ones know they are valued: ask for advice and input, have them share their stories and family history, sign up to do volunteer work together. Consider taking a class at your senior center or local college and now you can find a lot of learning options online too.
- Insure that their home is senior-friendly. This includes assessing each room in the home to make sure there is enough maneuvering space for day-to-day tasks. One important task is to inspect doorways and thresholds within the home and convert them to no-steps or ramps. Making these conversions helps to eliminate the common tripping hazard. It’s also a good idea to assess your bathroom and – if needed – install a lowered sink, elevated toilet and grab bars in the shower. Another small detail is changing light switches from traditional switches to rocking switches, which are easier to turn on and off. Backyards and front yards can also be modified by raising flower and gardening beds. This can help alleviate stress on the body from bending over for extended periods of time.
- Keep an eye out for signs of depression or substance abuse in your friends/loved ones, especially if the person has a family or personal history. If you notice major changes in routine, withdrawal from activities or changes in personality, something may be wrong.
If you would like to learn more about caring and consistent in home help for the elderly and the many benefits of professional in home senior care or dementia and Alzheimer’s care, call Miller Home Care to speak to a senior care specialist today 414-269-5777! The compassionate senior care specialists at Miller Home Care can also guide you through the process of receiving the Veterans Administration Aid and Attendance Benefit if your elderly loved one is a veteran. In home senior care and in home assisted living allows your loved one to stay in the comforts of their own home for as long as possible while receiving the level of care they need. Miller Home Care provides a wide range of services including Alzheimer’s and dementia care, personal assistance, companionship, and so much more to all areas of Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Waukesha and Washington counties.