It's vital for our well-being
Aging, and feeling like you can no longer do the things you once could, can be an overwhelming experience. Developing a system of support can be essential for staying in your home and remaining independent. For caregivers looking to establish a system of support, read "Finding a system of support as a caregiver." Below are five tips for developing a network of support in your golden years.
Assess who in your life is available to offer help
Typically people in their aging years rely on spouses or family members to help support them. Figure out who in your life you can rely on to help with things like transportation, shopping, and financial planning. These people can also help you with other things you may no longer feel confident doing on your own. If your children have moved far from home, they may be available as emotional support but not for daily or weekly assistance. Reach out to siblings, grandchildren, or even neighbors to develop a support system that will be available for you when you need it.
Determine your needs
Often people want to help but are unsure how to do it. A good way to develop a system of support is to determine what your actual needs are. Some folks may need help with driving and transportations while others may still safely be able to drive themselves where they need. Everyone's needs are different, so knowing precisely what you are asking for can be beneficial when reaching out to others.
Utilize online resources to support you in your independence
Resources like IamFine are available to seniors looking to increase their system of support without sacrificing their freedom. Having someone come into your home can feel invasive and demoralizing. IamFine, instead, utilizes a short daily phone call to check in on its members. The customer can receive the phone call on a mobile phone or a landline, and they can set it to occur at any time of day. When the phone call comes in, the user presses "1" to show that they are fine. If they don't answer the phone call will be placed several more times before alerting the user's chosen care circle. Using resources like IamFine can give seniors peace of mind that someone will be there in the event of an emergency.
Know which programs you can access in your area
Sometimes systems of support are found outside immediate family and neighbors. Programs like Meals on Wheels help provide healthy in-home meals to seniors. Most communities have programs to help provide seniors with extra support, either through their local senior centers or through other non-profit organizations. Discovering which programs are available in your area is accessible through the Elder Care Locator on the US Department of Health and Human Services website. Local organizations are also a good way for seniors to meet other seniors with whom they can empathize, socialize, and share resources.
Don't let fear hold you back - Find your system of support
When developing a system of support, it is essential not to let fear hold you back from asking for help. Seniors used to a life of independence may find it hard to reach out and ask for help, but there is no shame in needing assistance. Feel confident in yourself and your abilities and ask for help as a way to improve your quality of life. A system of support is key to successfully aging in place.
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