Survey to survey has shown that many older adults want to age in place. However, aging in place isn’t simply just staying put and doing nothing. It involves a lot of changes, and preparations will need to be made.
So if you are one of the majority who wishes to make it happen, it’s time to plan how you may successfully age in place!
This article will guide you in creating a fail-proof plan for aging in place by showing you the right steps.
STEP 1: Determine the kind of help you want or need in the future.
The first step is to think about what kind of help you will need in the near future. Maybe you live alone, so there may be no one available to help you. You may not need help now, but you may be living with anyone who does. Everyone has different situations. Knowing this is important so you can plan to get the support you need.
STEP 2: Complete a home safety check, identify the necessary home modifications, and get an estimate.
The next thing you have to do is check your home’s safety and see if it is aging-proof to reduce your future risk of an accident or a fall. Identify the most important home modifications to ensure your home is safe aging.
You can also check some must-haves for seniors who want to age in place to make their life easier. After identifying these things, create a list and get an estimate of the costs, as you will need it in creating your budget plan.
STEP 3: Check the state of your overall health and look for any illnesses or diseases you might have.
Get yourself checked for any illnesses that you or your spouse might have. Consult with your doctor about how these health problems could affect your daily life, including your ability to move around or care for yourself in the future.
STEP 4: Make a care plan.
Care plans are made for healthy people who acknowledge their needs change as they age and want to ensure they will have a helping hand. By signing up for a care plan early, you’ll know who to call in case of an emergency or when you’re looking for a little extra help at home, and there’s no cost to register, which makes it even more helpful.
STEP 5: Look into long-term care insurance.
As we age, our healthcare needs will change, and most of us who grow old at home will eventually need long-term care. This type of insurance usually covers the cost of care not covered by health insurance or Medicare. It will help you pay and make a difference when the time to consider a home caregiver comes.
STEP 6: Check the services that your health insurance can cover.
In addition to long-term care insurance, it is also important to check other services that may be covered by your health insurance to further help ease the costs involved in your aging-in-place needs.
STEP 7: Explore available government and non-profit resources and support.
Apart from health insurance, you should also take a look at accessible resources you may get from government and non-profit organizations.
STEP 8: Talk with your family and ask how much support they can provide.
Another support that you may get as you age in place is from your family. So try to ask them about any support they would be willing to give you, including emotional, financial, or physical help.
Ask them if they would be willing to run errands for you, cover some of the costs you may incur as you age, drive you to your health appointments, or aid you in grocery shopping.
STEP 9: Assess your budget and create short-term and long-term budget plans.
The costs associated with aging in place will likely increase in the long run. It may be a financially smart move to remain at your home for now, but that can change in five or 10 years. Hence, it is important to create a budget plan that covers both your short-term and long-term needs while accounting for possible increases in the future.
STEP 10: Consider meeting a financial advisor.
Speaking with a financial counselor or money coach is a sensible strategy to map future spending. Speaking with a geriatric care manager is an additional choice. This professional is usually a licensed nurse or social worker.
Since the costs of aging in place could change over time, meeting with professionals can help you plan better as they are more knowledgeable about forecasting costs and could give you expert advice in creating a great budget plan.
STEP 11: Familiarize yourself with technology.
Learn how to use video screen-sharing and messaging apps on your smartphone or digital tablet to stay in touch with your loved ones while relaxing at home. It can also help you stay updated on what’s happening in your community and gain access to helpful services such as delivery and taxi services.
Did You Know?
Frequent Internet use may help to reduce cognitive decline in older adults.Nature, Scientific Reports
STEP 12: Make a transportation plan.
It’s crucial to be able to get out and about in your community, and commuting by yourself is only one of the numerous options to get you where you need to go. Find out what public transportation options are accessible to you, ask friends and family if they can offer rides, and get to know any nearby taxi firms or ride-sharing services.
STEP 13: Meet with a lawyer for your estate planning, will, and power of attorney.
After settling everything that you may need to comfortably age in the comfort of your home, your next step should be managing your estate, will, and power of attorney.
Having an estate plan will help you establish important guidelines that will allow you to advocate for yourself. It is particularly important for seniors who wish to retain their independence and protect their assets.
Apart from creating wills and other important documents, an estate plan will allow you to have your voice regarding the quality of your long-term care — whether at home or in an assisted living facility — and become qualified for associated government benefits to help pay for that care. It will also help protect your life savings and outline your wishes should you become incapacitated.
Elder law attorneys can help you develop strategies that can allow you to better advocate for yourself during such events.
You may look at the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils’ website and the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys‘ site to find an accredited estate planner in your area.
STEP 14: Create a backup plan if it becomes impossible for you to remain home.
Just like what has been reiterated in this guide many times, your need will inevitably change as you age, and there are possible circumstances that may hinder your ability to age in place. Hence, your aging-in-place plan should also include a backup plan in case the time comes that you may not be able to remain at home.
You must consider the next best option for you in case such scenarios come and be fully prepared emotionally and financially. Your family should also be aware of your backup plan and their part if they have any, so they can immediately help you.
Although many older adults are keen on aging in their homes or place, many are not prepared to age in place.
A University of Michigan survey stated that although nearly 4 in 5 older adults think their homes either definitely or probably have the features for them to be able to age in place, many reported their homes did not have common accessibility features, and nearly half reported they had given very little if any, consideration to what home modifications would be needed.
Hence, there is a need to encourage seniors who want to age in place, even more to take action and start planning for their aging. Making an action plan and checklist can help prioritize what needs to be accomplished if you want to age successfully in place.
Examining accessible home care and community resources ahead makes it easier to select what suits you and your family and plan how you may use them to help you more with your aging needs.
Moreover, careful preparation can go a long way. It’s best to have a support system before a medical emergency forces you to make distressing decisions. It can also help you and your family better prepare for the inevitable.