This is a statement that is being heard more and more each day as our population ages as our elderly discuss their futures with their families and with their medical professionals. In fact, it is projected that the over-65 population will double in this country alone over the next ten years!
In the year 2025, that one out of every seven people will be over the age of 65, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This all means that the issues today surrounding our aging population and their needs for successful aging will only multiply.
Families will be confronted with several new challenges as these issues arise. These challenges are placed into three categories, the “Three P’s-People, Place and Products.”
Doctors, specialist, nurses, therapists, social workers, case managers, caregivers, insurance agents, religious leaders, senior resources, lawmakers, family members and many more. Clearly, these professionals are some of the people we confide in and look for guidance from and chances are pretty good that if we ask, or in some cases we don’t have to ask, can get some pretty solid advice from these folks.
Taking a look at the major decisions made in your lifetime beginning with early childhood actions, to decisions to enter college or the armed forces, to decisions to buy your first house, to get married, to that decision to accept that first job and so on, YOU have been the person that you have ultimately relied on.
Just as you most likely did with several of those big decisions, make a list outlining your living goals. Pay the most attention to what YOU want out of your golden years. After you have a good foundational belief of those goals, then seek the advice of the professional’s and family resources mentioned above. All to often, we hear of people making hasty decisions on these important matters, only to regret them later. Remember, YOU first.
There are several options available to individuals, so it’s important to take the time to select the facility that suits you best. Spend the time researching, visiting, talking to residents, ask to review records and reviews. Be sure to visit each more than once both at different times and days to get a complete picture of the facility. Remember, assisted living, group homes, and your current home with modifications or are all choices availble to you.
Be honest with your self assessing your personality and personal needs. Are you real social, an extravert, or do you prefer your own space and company. Moving to an organized living setting, such as an assisted living home or group does add a layer of regiment to your day regarding meals and activities. If you do not like structure such as this, then alternate settings may be best or simply staying at home, with support and/or modifications could be the best bet.
Products you can use to assist in your quest to maximize your daily living activities. Use the following to check your home for both security and safety. Falls are the leading cause of injury for people over 65 in the United States according to Hooyman and Kiyaak’s book on Social Gerontology, and account for 90% of all hip fractures.
A good safety check should evaluate a home for:
- slippery floors
- loose area rugs (often found in bathrooms)
- poorly demarcated stairs
- slippery surfaces in tubs and showers
- grade of the yards
- poor lighting
- overgrown landscaping
- unnecessary clutter
As we age, we are also more susceptible to weakened muscle control, poorer vision and other things that can contribute to more danger. So, a thorough safety check is suggested. I recommend asking another party to perform a check to make sure all potential hazard areas are covered. Some items that may be necessary for your added safety are grab bars for the shower/bathroom, shower chairs, walkers and rollators, non-slip rugs; even some simple things such as simply replacing some light bulbs.
The other product area refers to items assisting with providing a sense of security for you and your family. Items such as patient monitors, whole house alarm systems, even an AED unit for those with heart disease could be useful.
Bottom-line, YOU are your own best advocate in the important life decision of what changes you may need to make to make your retirement years the best years yet. Make the right decisions early and use the extra time to enjoy life!
Director of Care
Cardinal Home Care, LLC