Aging in place is defined as "the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level."  Certainly most people would agree that it would be better to remain in their home as long as possible as they age.  As the "baby-boomer" generation gets older more people have chosen to age in place and approximately one-third of American households currently have one or more residents over 60 in them.  Of course, as the definition above suggests, there are needs that must be met if one wishes to age in place as long as possible.

Let's take a closer look at the definition of aging in place.  The definition mentions safety first.  Injuries to older adults at home are unfortunately quite common.  Falling is possibly the greatest threat to an individual being able to age in place and often results in a fatality.  Fortunately, the risk of a fall can be greatly minimized by making some modifications around the home.  Handrails in the shower and bath and stairways are relatively low cost projects and removing loose throw rugs and other trip hazards is low-cost and sometimes free.

The definition next mentions independence and this is most commonly the reason an individual chooses to remain at home. However, retirement communities that allow one to live independently with the support of a community are another option for older adults, especially those with a progressive condition like lung disease or diabetes.  Assisted living communities, or communities with the Senior Friendly Communities of America accreditation are great options, especially for those wanting a more social environment while maintaining a high level of independence.

As one ages living comfortably can become increasingly expensive.  Many benefits are available through various programs, but applying for benefits, through the Veteran's Administration for example, can be quite complicated and most will need the assistance of a social worker or care consultant to navigate the process.  Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security provide coverage for various healthcare and home situations, but again, the application process is complicated.  Understanding the terminology and which program pays for which service is vital if one wishes to age in place.  Contact us for help!