Plan Ahead to Remain at Home
Many people would prefer to stay living independently at home as long as possible. There can be many advantages to living close to friends, in a familiar neighborhood, in a home that you know well.
Often, though, the key to being able to do this is to plan ahead and to consider "what if?" questions with your caregiving team. It can be very useful to use the planning resources, assessments and safety checklists with another person's help. These resources share planning advice:
One of the many reasons why people want to grow old at home is to remain close to family and friends - but what if you do not have family available to help care? With planning, friends might take on some of those roles. Also, take good advantage of local support programs, even if there are family and friends to help - that lets them focus on the things that only the people close to us can do.
Besides planning for a safe and comfortable home, think about options for travellng to the places you want to go - shopping, visiting, appointments, and the other "activities of daily life".
If today you drive to those places, think ahead to when driving is no longer safe, and explore public transit or paratransit options in advance of when you really must depend on them. Don't assume that you'll always be able to drive. If today you can walk to those places, great! - and take a moment to check whether they are wheelchair accessible, in case you need to use that assist later.
The ability to drive declines in everyone with age. For help in deciding when to hang up the keys, see the section for When Should Someone Stop Driving? on our Later Life Guide. Those are not easy conversations - these resources may help:
Assess your Home Environment
A home safety assessment can be focused on specific concerns or more wide-ranging. These sources can give an idea of what to look for. As described in the first source below, advice and assistance may be available from community organizations.
These checklists can help you identify possible problem areas (tip: print and check off items as you walk through the home).
A light-hearted, easy way to begin thinking about home safety is this online game on preventing a fall at home:
If someone in the home has memory loss or problems with attention, these checklists include safety tips to address those concerns too:
Once the home environment has been evaluated, what can be done to make it more comfortable and safe?
Technology Tools for Aging in Place
Many of the organizational tools listed under Planning Care and Organizational Tools are relevant for aging at home, and some - like easy-access emergency contacts, medical alerts, medication reminders or electronic access to medical records - may be essential.
Considering moving in with a family member or a friend? In making that decision, these sources discuss important things to think about:
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