The world is in a state of change. Fertility rates are dropping as life expectancy rises, meaning soon the number of elderly will outpace children for the first time in history, according to the World Health Organization. Projections show that by 2050 the number of people over the age of 65 around the world will reach 1.5 billion, up from 524 million in 2010. With a change in population comes a shift in how seniors are cared for and aging in place is one solution that many are turning to.
So what is aging in place?
Aging in place simply means that instead of relocating seniors to care facilities and retirement homes, they are allowed to live out their golden years in their own home.
This has many benefits which include cost savings, a feeling of independence and a sense of familiarity. Though challenges can arise, services such as the daily call service Iamfine can be set up to give peace of mind that a senior remain safe and healthy while in their home.
The most important aspect of aging in place is having a plan. Though aging in place refers to seniors of retirement age, it does not hurt to start thinking about it sooner. Having a list of resources and possible problems will help make it easier to face challenges that arise. The National Aging in Place Council has a step-by-step guide for creating a plan which includes everything from health and wellness to transportation.
Having a plan also means that seniors will know how to get help when they need it. Aging in place does not mean aging alone. Identifying the challenges each individual faces will help create a network for getting help. Thinking about any chronic diseases or health issues a senior has ahead of time can make dealing with them easier when the time arises.
It is also important, to be honest about which daily activities are a struggle. The National Institute on Aging has a list of common concerns that may need to be looked at when a senior makes the decision to age in place. Some of these concerns may be that stairs have become too hard to climb or that nutritional needs are not being met. Researching solutions to these problems like chair lifts or the benefits of senior nutrition can help alleviate the stress of aging in place.
There is no right way to age in place. For some seniors, it may mean moving out of their current home and into a smaller space, for others it may mean staying in the same household but having a caregiver who comes to clean and cook their meals. Aging in place is a practical and desirable option for many seniors, and with the right planning, it can be done in a way that is just as safe as any other retirement living situation.