Surveys generally show that older adults want to age in place. Older adults value living in their own home and the community which is familiar to them. It has also been shown that living in one’s own home contributes to a long life.
There are two factors that are often essential when considering if an older adult can stay in their own home. One is health and the other is economics. Both of these factors contribute to individuals being able to continue to live in their own home.
Technology has become almost a must for individuals who want to continue to live in their own home. In this 21st century, wearable devices such as necklaces, wrist and arm bands, and leg monitors are attached to smart phones and other tracking devices that monitor health and activity; security cameras and other devices that help with safety and security; tracking devices that allow us to see motion and movement which all provide a sense of oversight to families and others who are not able to be in the same room with an older adult. Most of these devices are connected to a smart phone, so family and friends can be in touch and provide help in a moment’s notice.
And who would have thought that the lessons learned and the change in behavior patterns of the pandemic would be so easily transferrable to helping older adults live independently. The pandemic has forced us to see our doctor online and through telehealth the medical team can monitor your blood pressure, your heart pacemaker and much more. Medical equipment is installed in your home and connected to the doctor’s office for review and monitoring.
Ordering groceries and other supplies online and having them delivered to the front door has become commonplace. Store shelves are bare, replaced by warehouses. Companies have changed their workforce to pull orders, package goods, stock delivery vehicles, and deliver packages to the front door in a touchless manner. The older adult does not have to leave their home or even interact with the delivery person, making these interactions safe from abuse and exploitation.
In addition to health concerns, economics can often drive older adults to leave their home and not be able to age in place. Some people either choose or are forced to sell their current home and either rent or purchase a smaller home. Far worse, however, are those individuals who are unable to continue to afford the rent, taxes, or utilities and find themselves moving due to lack of resources. Affordable housing is out of the reach for most people who are faced with limited incomes. A few people are able to take advantage of sharing housing either moving in with family, renting out rooms in their current home, or downsizing.
The Colorado Gerontological Society is offering seriesof information and possible solutions to help older adults continue to live in their own home. Sessions are free.
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