In Your Prime: You don’t have to move from Dayton: 3 simple tips for aging in place successfully

The Dayton Art Institute announced it will expand its hours to include Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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The Dayton Art Institute announced it will expand its hours to include Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Aging in place doesn’t have to be complicated.

A 2018 AARP survey found that 76% of Americans 50 and older would rather stay in their current residence as they age. Seventy-seven percent would like to remain in their community for as long as possible.

“Aging in place means a person being able to live in the place of their choice without losing their quality of life when they reach senior age. But ideally what aging in place should be addressing is not just to maintain the quality of life that the person is used to, but also to make it better whenever possible,” SeniorLiving.org explained.

Here’s how you can get started.

Determine whether aging in place is right for you

Aging in place may require some adjustments. Expensive home modifications and emotional ties to your dwelling should be considered. Think about whether family members are nearby to offer help. Consider how active you are and nearby facilities that can help with that.

Consult with your doctor

Geriatricians can help ease your concerns or that of a loved one when it comes to monitoring your age-related health needs. They can assist you with seeing the big picture, Johns Hopkins geriatrician Michele Bellantoni said.

“Geriatricians specialize in the healthcare needs of people who are aging,” Johns Hopkins geriatrician Dr. Samuel C. Durso told the hospital website. “As we get older, our bodies change. The kinds of conditions we have and how those conditions interact with each other differs from what adults under the age of 60 typically experience.

Work out what budget you have to work with

When you start breaking down the costs of medical alert systems, home renovations, home insurance (if the aging senior doesn’t already have it) it all adds up… it’s worth doing some advanced care planning to ensure your loved one can afford to AIP comfortably every month.

According to Joseph Conver, Executive Director at Atria Senior Living, home-care can run $25 - $75 an hour with typically a two-hour minimum. The industry average price for a medical alert system is around $19.99/month according to medicalalertbuyersguide.org.

For a weekly food shop to be delivered home there is typically a $10/delivery through common sources such as DoorDash, Kroger, or Instacart. Meals-on-Wheels is another valuable resource.

Reach out to a local contractor for an estimate on updating your home with the necessary safety precautions. Grab bars are important in the bathrooms and in the hallways. Ramp access to both the front of the house and the back of the house needs to be considered.

If living in a two-story home, a stair lift might be required. Additionally, an investment in a great quality chair lift can be an important piece of furniture to consider.

Other costs included with home-care such as medication management, pharmacy deliveries or pickup; companionship needs will vary.

Observe your usual routine with a family member

Taking a day to keep track of your typical routine will help you pinpoint where you may need some assistance. That can be in the form of renovations or needing a loved one nearby. It can also help you recognize where you spend the majority of your time. This can be useful for knowing where to place emergency response systems, such as a medical alert.

Prepare your home

Is your home ready to accommodate you as you age in place? There are plenty of considerations to make when it comes to answering this question. From assisted stairlifts to handrails in the bathroom, little tweaks can make everyday life easier.

The aim of these modifications is to minimize hazards at home, keep you safe, and make life less frustrating. Help your house help you with our suggestions by room below.

General

Not all changes have to cost an eye-popping amount.

Securing existing household items and furniture that are likely to come loose and cause tripping, such as unsecured rugs (floor grips are inexpensive way to secure them) or delicate, freestanding decorative objects is a fast way to reduce accidents.

If you suffer with joint pain, you can also switch door knobs to levers throughout the house to make them easier to grip and pull. Motion-activated lights are another idea to help you save money and avoid fumbling for light switches.

If your medical alert system isn’t mobile, you also need to think about the rooms you use the most in the house, as those are where you’ll need to store your life alert system.

We’d also consider adding wheels to furniture such as your coffee table or study desk to make re-positioning easier in the future. If you clean often, it’ll make a huge difference and take the pressure off lifting and carrying.

Bathroom

In the bathroom small things like anti-slip shower mats, grab bars for the bathtub and toilet areas, plus shower seats can really help.

Zero-curb showers, also known as curbless walk-in showers, are another idea. While pricey, they avoid they need to climb into a tub and remove the need to use a shower curtain. Cleaning them is also far easier than cleaning the nooks and crannies of a bathtub. Plus, if you struggle with balance or visual impairment, shower curtains can cause accidental falls and block out sunlight.

Front door

Video doorbells are perhaps one of the best pieces of technology you can get when aging in place. Not only do they often come with an smartphone app, so you can see who’s at your door in real-time for safety, they also work across multiple accounts.

So even if you decide to take a nap, a carer or friend can always be added to the app to keep an eye on who’s visiting and deter unsavoury visitors by letting them know they’re being watched.

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