Aging in place means having the health, social supports and services to live safely and independently in your home and your community, for as long as possible.
1. Plan now for the future. Since a chronic illness, a disability, loss of a spouse or a change in your financial situation could be possible, plan for how you would adapt. How would such a major change in circumstances affect you? What changes would allow you to continue to live independently?
2. Assess your home with an eye to possible future events. Do you have lots of stairs? Are your bathrooms safe and easy to use? Adapting your home, following accessible housing design, improves safety and convenience for everyone, regardless of their abilities.
3. Age-friendly communities encourage active and engaged living. Because of the needs of seniors, health care services, recreational facilities, public transportation, shopping and accessible buildings have to be available.
4. Is transportation available? What can you walk to? Is public transportation within walking distance? Are there specially designed services for seniors? Are there services for the disabled? Since these may have varying costs, find out what they would be.
5. Due to declining health, assistance with day-to-day activities may be necessary. Health care or social services programs are the main providers of this form of help once family can no longer provide it. Is this form of support available in your community and what is the cost? What are the different levels of care available?
6. Social connections are critically important to maintaining physical, mental and emotional health and well being. Therefore, a variety of opportunities to engage socially are necessary. Is this variety available? Do you connect to your social network frequently?
7. Good health is maintained and improved by being active, eating well and exercising regularly. Because of a healthy lifestyle, quality of life remains high, medical costs are reduced and your independence maintained. Is preventive medical support available in the community?
8. As a result of financial security you gain peace of mind knowing you can continue to live in your residence and maintain your lifestyle. In addition to your own resources, governments often have financial assistance programs for seniors. Finally, there may also be volunteer programs to assist with services that would usually have a cost.
9. Safety aids and practices within your home will prevent injuries, especially falls. Awareness of scams and the ways to protect yourself keep you from falling victim to the scams. Due to seniors’ trusting nature, lack of technology skills and frequent isolation, seniors are frequent targets of fraudsters. Do you feel threatened by someone? Is someone pressuring you? Know where you can get help.
Becoming a care giver
A friend or spouse could require your care. Being a caregiver puts added pressure on your time, health and resources. As a result of this added responsibility, you need to “care” for the caregiver. Are there support systems available to caregivers in the community?
Please contact me for information about programs for seniors who own their homes in Alberta.