Essential Needs to Consider When a Senior Loved One is Aging in Place

In 2023, many older adults wish to remain in their own homes as they age, and aging in place can be a positive experience for some. Benefits for seniors include staying connected to the community they know and love, maintaining feelings of independence, and cost-effectiveness.
However, when exploring senior living options, it’s important to stay realistic about the level of senior care your loved one requires. Be sure to consider whether the support they need can be delivered effectively from their home. If your loved one wishes to age in place, here are a few things you may need to consider.

Home Modifications

Suppose your relative has poor or declining mobility. In that case, consider modifying their home to improve safety, reduce their fall risk, and make day-to-day living easier for them. 

Some common home modifications for seniors include:

    • Installing a wheel-in curbless or zero entry shower.
    • Installing grab bars in areas where extra support is needed, like the shower or toilet.
    • Lowering kitchen shelves and work surfaces to a more easily reachable height.
    • Ensuring the home is well-lit and free from clutter and tripping hazards.
    • Replacing handles and taps if a senior needs better dexterity.
    • Widening doors and installing ramps for wheelchair access.
    • Installing a stairlift or moving the bedroom downstairs.

Social Support

Positive social connections are an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. For example, socialization may help protect seniors from mental health issues like depression and anxiety while supporting cognitive function. Unfortunately, many seniors experience a natural decline in opportunities for socialization. Retirement can lead to losing connection with work colleagues they once saw daily, and the passing of friends and family members may leave them even further isolated. 

If your loved one plans to age in place and spends a lot of time alone, organizing a visitation schedule for family members can be helpful. You can also support them in finding new social communities to get involved in. Many seniors enjoy taking classes to learn new skills and meet friends with a shared interest or nurturing their emotional and physical health simultaneously through exercise groups.

Activities of Daily Living

Activities of daily living (ADLs) are the vital tasks we do every day to stay healthy and maintain a high quality of life. These tasks include cooking, eating, showering, dressing, grooming, and safely moving around the home. While many seniors wish to age in place, ADLs are a common barrier that can make this harder to achieve. 

If your loved one struggles with ADLs, a few things you could consider are:

    • Creating a rotation to help family members share the responsibility of providing care.
    • Enlisting the support of a highly recommended local home health service.
    • Considering practical professional services that could save time and relieve the pressure on you (e.g., meal prep, housekeeping, or gardening).
    • Keeping an updated medication list or schedule to ensure your loved one receives the correct medication daily.
    • Investing in a wearable health monitoring device to help you keep track of your loved one’s wellbeing, detect falls, and spot any areas of concern swiftly.

Financing Senior Care

Aging in place can be costly, especially if your loved one requires complex home modifications or daily support from a home health service. Thankfully, Medicare and private insurance can often help with some of these costs. It may be useful to calculate what the upfront and monthly costs of aging in place will be to you or your loved one. While many families are initially hesitant to consider residential assisted living due to the price, paying separately for in-home care, maintenance and utilities, home adjustments, recreational activities and food often works out to be equally or even more costly. 

When to Consider Residential Assisted Living

While some seniors find aging in place works well, others have needs better suited to a residential assisted living environment. Myths surrounding senior living are still prevalent and can sometimes make seniors reluctant to move out of their homes. Contrary to popular belief, modern residential assisted living communities can facilitate the dignified, active, social, and comfortable retirement every senior deserves. 

Residential assisted living communities like Silverleaf Eldercare are expertly designed and adapted to meet a range of mobility needs, often featuring many more useful adaptations than it’s financially or logistically possible to install in a senior’s home. The right senior living community will allow your loved one to thrive by providing a safe environment, carefully coordinated care, nutrient-rich meals, and a range of social and leisure opportunities. 

Silverleaf Eldercare works with residents, family caregivers, and medical professionals like dentists, audiologists, and physical therapists to deliver seamless care plans that meet each senior’s unique needs. Silverleaf homes feature fully adapted bathrooms with grab bars, armrests, curbless showers, and fully adjustable shower seats. We also have zero transition flooring and convenient ground floor bedrooms to reduce trip hazards.

Day to day, our residents enjoy chef-prepared meals tailored to their preferences, plus various activities, including chair yoga, bowling, and seasonal events. Senior residents in our community can also access various digital content encouraging cognitive, social, educational, and physical activity through our iN2L library. 

Five signs senior living may be the right choice for your loved one:

    1. Their home cannot be easily adapted to meet their needs (e.g., if they have a narrow, winding staircase or uneven surfaces).
    2. Their local community offers few opportunities for seniors to socialize.
    3. They’ve had accidents in the home and would benefit from 24/7 care, support, and supervision.
    4. They need multiple types of support, and hiring service providers (e.g., home health caregivers, meal prep service, gardener, housekeeper) separately is too costly.
    5. You feel overwhelmed or unable to meet your loved one’s needs as a family caregiver, or you frequently worry about their health and safety.

Silverleaf Eldercare offers dignified, expert senior care coordination within a truly homelike environment. If you’re ready to explore the possibility of residential assisted living for your aging loved one in the Austin area, arrange a tour of our community today.