Ageing in place
Aged care planning helps you live well at home
It’s not just our seniors who enjoy the comforts of home. Being able to spend time with our senior loved ones in a relaxed home environment brings joy and togetherness for families. Older people can be supported to live well at home, maintaining health, mobility and social connection. Being prepared for ageing in place can make all the difference to a senior’s quality of life. Let’s look at what ageing in place means for you and how you can plan for it.
What is ageing in place?
Ageing in place describes having the autonomy to live in the residence of your choice, without losing your quality of life as you age. It could mean staying in the family home, or downsizing to a smaller private residence which has the features a senior needs to continue the activities they enjoy as they age.
When a senior is ageing at home, or ageing in place, they’re accessing the support they need to maintain their independence and have choice and control for daily living.
Benefits of ageing in place
Some benefits of ageing in place for seniors, and their families, include:
- Remaining connected to community, which supports social and emotional wellbeing
- Feeling of reassurance from familiar surroundings
- Pleasant nostalgia surrounded by household possessions
- More ease moving around a familiar house and furniture layout, especially if any fall risks have been reduced with home modifications
- More convenience for nearby family to continue visiting
How to age in place? Plan ahead
Ageing in place isn’t going to be successful if we don’t plan and act early. What we know is that as a person ages, they may need more care and support to maintain physical, mental and emotional health. If we don’t anticipate these changes, we can’t prepare for them.
Many people start their aged care planning after they’ve noticed care needs increasing. Having more difficulty in doing the things they used to do, putting up with the way things are and then getting more stressed. They feel like staying independent at home is too hard because their situation deteriorated.
Imagine if preparations were made sooner, those difficult experiences could have been avoided, and an older person could feel enjoyment at continuing to live well in their home with the right supports in place.
That’s why it’s so important to anticipate increased care needs as we age.
Considerations for ageing in place
There are a number of ways to prepare for ageing in place. Learning about your options will help you be ready to access services and support to meet a senior’s changing care needs.
- Home care services
Maintaining the home, health and wellbeing, and running routine errands, takes a lot of effort. Consider the home care services that can help seniors as they age.
- Community connections
Being around familiar social networks and activities can provide a boost to a senior’s emotional wellbeing. If needing to move to a new home, looking for local community groups and services is important.
- Continuity of healthcare
Remaining close to family doctors and familiar specialists helps seniors feel comfortable with the same providers they’re used to. Home-visiting healthcare practitioners can be arranged when needed.
Finding new practitioners can be disruptive, and keeping health records together is essential for handover to a new provider. Achieving the right support beyond the doctor’s office is key, and home care case management might be helpful especially if multiple services are involved.
- Home design and home modifications
Consider how home modifications might make things easier if mobility becomes difficult. Hand rails, ramps, lowered benches, updating bathroom fittings and lighting could all improve home safety and accessibility for older people.
If your senior loved one is considering downsizing to a new residence, look carefully at whether these supports are going to be accessible in/around the new home.
When seniors are looking to access government-funded services, it really is so important to get started early. Waitlists can be long. Even if using private services, you’ll want to start researching providers and checking availability. Things like home modifications can be lengthy to complete.
Taking action: get help with aged care planning
Being prepared gives families the time to consider what home care options are available before you need them. You’re also going to be in a better position to handle unexpected occurrences like falls or sudden illnesses. You’d have all the arrangements lined up in advance.
When making plans for seniors to be able to age in place, it’s important to:
- Discuss the situation among the family
- Include your senior’s health professionals and specialists in any decisions
- Prepare a budget for future needs
- Do your research and line up service providers
- Read through our Senior in Control checklist for remaining independent and in control
It’s normal to be overwhelmed by all of this. Carers looking after senior family members are often already busy with work and family of their own.
Consider bringing in a home care advocate like Empower Aged Care to guide you through this process. We will:
- Draw from our experience of the changing needs of seniors as they age
- Help you navigate the aged care system and identify services that are right for you
- Liaise with My Aged Care and healthcare professionals on your behalf
- Arrange home care services that support ageing in place
Get in touch to book a Holistic Aged Care Assessment by calling 0404 444 985.