The Importance of Independence & Aging in Place

“I know I could not have stayed in my home without them.” – Sarah

“Seniors Helping Seniors has been an ideal senior service provider for my 95 year old mother who’s desire it is to continue to live independently in her own home.” – Pat

These are just a few examples of testimonials we get often. Seniors across the country have built homes they feel comfortable and secure in over years, decades even. They want to be able to remain at home while aging with dignity.

When AARP asked people age 50+ if they’d like to remain in their current residence for as long as possible, 76% agreed. However not as many folks truly believe they’ll be able to have a future that matches their wishes. “46% believe they’ll stay in their current home and never move,” reported AARP. Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services exists to empower seniors to continue living independent lives by taking care of day-to-day tasks that become more challenging as one ages.

Aging gracefully while staying in the comfort of home is often aided by the helping hand of friends and family. However, changing family dynamics on a global scale are impacting the obligation some family members feel toward caring for relatives as they age. “Declines in marriage, increases in divorce, and lower fertility mean that more baby boomers will reach age 65 without a spouse or adult child to rely on for care” reports the Population Reference BureauSeniors Helping Seniors® in-home care is becoming increasingly vital for maintaining independence and offering services ranging from personal care or medication reminders to something as simple as companionship. “3 in 10 adults report lacking companionship, feeling left out or feeling isolated from others” AARP finds. Independence shouldn’t have to mean any senior is alone. This is one time where it’s actually possible to have your cake and eat it too. Seniors can make their own choice to live how they please, in their own home, without sacrificing quality of life.

Access to and ease of transportation are equally important to a senior’s independence. And it can be something everyone takes for granted. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of self-sufficiency from being able to choose where and when to go somewhere. No matter where one chooses to age in place, there are unique struggles to maintaining this form of independence. “Rural areas have the highest concentration of older people and are aging faster than urban areas” reports the Population Reference Bureau. However, the PRB also reports that the rural setting can hinder access to health care services, with fewer options and longer travel times to obtain care. If a senior is aging in place but no longer has the ability to drive, this can be a dangerous situation. In more metropolitan areas the road blocks that seniors face, according to the PRB, tend to be limited public transportation, businesses clustered rather than dispersed, and the prevalence of single-family two-story homes, which aren’t built with accommodations for aging or disabilities. Depending on the city or suburb, a senior’s transportation options can vary greatly.

We’re lucky to live in an age where transportation options are becoming more and more easily accessible, but it’s important to make sure seniors are aware of and comfortable using all the options available to them. For example, according to AARP, even though 94% of Americans age 50+ are aware of ride-share services like Uber and Lyft, only 29% have ever used one and 68% say they aren’t likely to in the next year. Many ride-sharing services, like Uber and Lyft, can accommodate seniors who don’t have access to a smartphone or who aren’t tech savvy. Seniors and their loved ones should research what option might be best for their unique situations. Ride sharing is a great way for seniors to maintain the independence of going where they want to, when they want to, while traveling safely.

Independence through transportation also raises the question of overall mobility. Keeping a healthy and active lifestyle is the best way to maintain mobility. Caregivers can help seniors maintain an active lifestyle by helping manage their daily routine and even by being a companion in light exercise. Maintaining and improving balance is a key to remaining independent while aging as well. If a disability hinders a senior’s mobility, assistive devices like canes, walkers, and more can make a world of difference. According to PRB, as many as roughly one in four are successfully accommodating losses in physical capacity and continuing to carry out daily activities without difficulty or help from others by using such devices. Whether looking to use a cane or looking for a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver, there’s never shame in asking for a helping hand to maintain independence.

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