Quad Cities, IL/IA

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Staying Home Longer


Submitted by GolderCare Solutions

Most seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age, often referred to as ‘aging in place.’ Living under your own schedule in a familiar place is a common reason for staying in your own home as long as possible. Memories are there and sometimes we feel better when we are close to those memories.

But, how do we make this happen? What does it take to stay at home?

The answer is not a simple checklist and it can be vastly different from person to person. The biggest concern is always safety.

Start with—“If there was a fire, what would you do? Can you get out of the house unassisted and in a timely manner?” If they can’t answer this question, this is a big red flag.

How do you call for help? Cell phone? Cell phones are a good idea except that it is often difficult to operate, keep charged, and on you at all times. It is a learned behavior to deal with cell phones and not a behavior everyone grew up with. It does not help if it is on the bed stand in the other room. My aunt and uncle traveled extensively by car. As soon as cell phones came out, they got one. However, they carried it in their trunk of the car for emergencies. They didn’t think about having it charged and within reach in case of an accident or other emergency. They had to learn a new behavior.

“Have you fallen lately?” No matter what the answer is, it is important to think about what you would do if you fell and couldn’t get up. I’m sure you have heard people make fun of the TV commercial that states, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” If you are the one who fell, it’s not so funny. One solution is one of the emergency response systems. You wear a monitor as a watch or necklace so you have it on you at all times. There are many companies who sell and install these systems. Shop around and find the one that provides the best service and is most convenient for your situation.

What about bathing? For best hygiene and avoiding infections in wounds, we need to get washed thoroughly on a regular basis. That means getting in and out of a shower or bathtub safely. A “sink bath” is not a long term solution. We are often embarrassed to admit that we need help and even more embarrassed at the thought of who would be best to help us. Family members are often willing, but it can cause uncomfortable situations. It can be awkward at best. This is when hiring a home care agency can best be used. Often times, it is just to help you in and out of the shower and being there in case something does happen or it may be to help you reach those areas that are difficult, such as washing your hair. For many people, paying an organization for the peace of mind and safety is more than well worth the cost.

Home healthcare agencies can also provide aides to clean your home, cook some meals, and/or take you grocery shopping or to doctor appointments. It often seems less intrusive and burdensome than asking loved ones to do it.

Staying home in isolation with no social connection or stimulation can be very lonely and lead to cognitive decline. Contact senior groups such as those connected with senior centers or your church to see if there are volunteers to visit seniors. Make a schedule with family members so that somebody checks in with Mom every day and not everybody on the same day. Sometimes a simple ride in the car is invigorating to somebody who has their world reduced to what they can see out of their windows.

If your goal is to stay in your home as long as possible, start with contacting a senior professional to assess your individual situation and provide guidance in how to keep your home safe for the days ahead.

GolderCare Solutions Unlimited, LLC is an independent care advocacy group for seniors, the disabled, and those that care for them. You can reach GolderCare at (309) 764-2273 and learn more at www.goldercare.com.