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Nell Bernstein caring.com
The great majority of older adults say they'd prefer to live out their days in their own home. For many, this desire is so strong that they’ll insist on staying in the face of what seems to be an impossible situation.
But even as a friend or relative begins to decline and need more support, "aging in place" can usually continue to work.
The good news is that there’s a wide and growing array of supports available to help older adults age in place safely and in comfort, from high-tech home-monitoring systems to skilled in-home caregivers. The key to successful aging in place is learning about these supports -- and how to "future-proof" her home -- before a health crisis or other emergency strikes.
Practical needs to consider include:
Assuming that your friend or relative is comfortable discussing finances with you, sit down with her and go over whether she has the income to cover her needs over time, including in-home care should it become necessary. A financial planner who specializes in eldercare can help. If it looks like there's going to be a lack of funds, become familiar with financial options, from reverse mortgages to Medicaid's Cash and Counseling Program, which pays for in-home care in some states, for those eligible.
The next step is figuring out who’s available -- volunteers or professionals -- to help. A neighbor may be more than happy to take out the trash cans each week, and more time-consuming maintenance tasks can be delegated to a handyman or gardener. If you live nearby and are willing help with something as minor as changing a light bulb that requires climbing a ladder, let her know -- it will bring her and you peace of mind, and will help keep her safe.
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