Let’s face it. No one ever says, “I cannot wait to go to long term care!” That time sneaks up on us in times of crisis and most times we are not financially or emotionally prepared. 90% of seniors wish to remain in their current living situation at home for the next 5-10 years. Most think they can do so without making any home modifications. This is not always true.
The number one reason seniors say they wish to age in place in their home is because they want to be close to family and friends. Another reason is because they wish to stay in the place where they have made so many fond memories for many so many years.
Whether a senior can age in place at home depends on many things. One of those things is finances. If the only asset an aging person has is their home, this may not be possible. Should they ever need the assistance of certified home health aide (be sure care is provided by a licensed, bonded, and insured agency), they may not have the means to pay for those private pay services. If this is the case in your family, speak to an elder law attorney about how Medicaid for long term care works in your state and be sure to plan with the legal documents you need to protect your loved one.
If there are assets in addition to the home, you may choose to plan to modify the home to best suit the senior’s needs, along with a future plan to have an agency provide care when safety becomes an issue. Seniors may need companion care such as meal preparation and socialization or hands-on physical assistance with dressing, bathing, and toileting. Modifications can be something as simple as a grab bar to installing a stair lift so there is accessibility to other floors in the home when this becomes a challenge. A lift chair can be a solution to someone who can no longer get out of their chair safely. There are even elevators that can be installed to accommodate a wheelchair. A mobile lift or ceiling lift can also be installed to assist the caregiver when someone requires more care. At Mobility Doctor, our Mobility Concierge can help with planning for not only the items that will keep someone safe today but discuss needs with the client and the family for the future and educate about what products could be put in place should someone need further accessibility and mobility solutions down the road.
Know your options and make a solid plan! Waiting for a crisis is not the time to make decisions like this. Take the time to have a conversation with your family to be sure you are all on the same page and empower your aging loved to be a part of the decision-making process. In the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “A goal without a plan is only a wish”.