Aging in place has become the goal of most seniors. It represents the idea of remaining in your familiar home, the place you love, as long as you possibly can before you have to move into institutional care. Experts on aging generally agree that, for most seniors, aging in place is a worthwhile goal.
However, it’s not always possible – and even when it is, professional advice is often needed to help seniors and their families prepare their home to make sure it provides a safe, healthy environment for an aging senior. We found a recent article on the website of the New York Times that does a good job of describing this process and the experts who make it happen.
The article is called “Movers Who Help Their Customers Stay at Home,” and you can click here to read it.
According to the Times report, the AARP and others have shown repeatedly that “a significant majority of older adults want to remain in their homes as long as possible.” The article also states that most public health and elder care professionals call this a positive trend. In the word of one expert, Professor Kali Thomas of Brown University, “Independence has become the gold standard for successful aging. It’s a worthy goal to choose.”
But Thomas goes on to say that this goal of independence can be elusive. As the Times piece puts it, “Many older people have health problems or economic issues that force them to remain at homes where the responsibilities for maintenance can be overwhelming.” Instead of the positive outcome of “aging in place,” Professor Thomas refers to this situation which many seniors face as being “stuck in place.”
So what’s the solution? How does a senior and his or her family decide what’s best? As the article reports, an organization called the National Association of Senior Move Managers has begun educating its members on ways to help counsel seniors who want to stay in their homes but need help making some basic changes to accommodate their physical needs. A Senior Move Manager will come to your home, assess your health and mobility needs, and make recommendations – from traffic flow to floor coverings to furniture better suited to the needs and comfort of seniors. If the client wants, the Senior Move Manager will then manage any home improvement projects for an hourly fee.
You can find a Senior Move Manager in your area by visiting the website www.nasmm.org. We found several in the Puget Sound area when we visited the site recently.
We have advised thousands of clients about retirement planning, and one of the recurring themes we stress is the need to avoid unplanned institutional care. With a good plan in place, most seniors can age in place and enjoy a better quality of life – but like every other aspect of retirement, it takes a good plan. That’s where Aging Options can help. We work with clients to assist them in preparing a LifePlan that covers not only housing choices but legal affairs, financial plans, family communication and health care coverage. Imagine the peace of mind you and your family will enjoy once you have your own LifePlan in place!
A good first step: attend one of our free LifePlanning Seminars. You can get the dates, times and locations on the Upcoming Events tab on this website. We have several seminars coming soon, and it will be a pleasure meeting you there. As always, feel free to contact our office if we can answer your questions or if you want to make a personal appointment.
(Originally reported at www.nytimes.com)