Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘seniors’

As we age there are many important things to consider. One of those important considerations is living arrangements. With the aging of America, the retirement living industry has grown exponentially over the past decade providing the seniors of today and tomorrow a vast variety of housing and care options. Understanding the housing choices that are offered can make your selection easier.

The first option is continuing to live at home. As with any other critical decision, you should think about the benefits and challenges of living at home. Some benefits may include being surrounded by friends and family in a familiar setting. Some challenges may include needing outside help with everyday tasks and feeling isolated and lonely.

If you choose to stay at home, think about possible modifications that can be done around your house to make your later years of life easier. This concept of making the home more accessible and safer is called Universal Design. The Virtual Universal Design Tour can show you ideas on modifications that can be made to your home.

The next option is to move to an outside facility. There are various types of settings depending on your desires and needs. Understanding the various options is important to help guide your decisions. Here is a brief overview of housing options for older adults:

Active Adult Communities – offer services and amenities aimed at giving residents a more carefree lifestyle, while also providing social engagement opportunities of all kinds.

Independent Living -refers to a way of life in residential communities designed specifically for those who have reached or are nearing retirement age, but want to remain active and independent.

Assisted Living – is a communal way of life designed for seniors who need help with various daily tasks like grooming, bathing, and medication management, but still wish to remain as independent as possible.

Skilled Nursing Care – provide skilled nursing care, a level of care provided by a registered nurse who monitors a patient’s health and administers treatment around-the-clock.

Residential Care Homes – provide individualized service, often in a standard single-family home. These houses have been modified to accommodate the needs of seniors, and are generally licensed by the state for only two to six beds. Similar to assisted living, residents receive 24-hour care and assistance with activities of daily living, including medication management, housekeeping services, transportation to doctor’s appointments as needed, meals, and social programs.

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) – offers several different senior living options or care levels all on one campus. It provides a peace-of-mind guarantee of care to residents for the rest of their lives.

Long-Term Care – refers to any community that provides 24-hour care on a long-term basis. Assistance generally includes regular supervision, help with activities of daily living as needed, medication reminders, housekeeping, meals, and social activities.

Memory Care – long-term care that helps those with dementia of Alzheimer’s disease. Memory care is either offered at a stand-alone community, or as an add-on service at some assisted living facilities, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, and nursing homes.

Housing decisions are unique to everyone and will depend on personal preferences, financial resources, and care needs. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging offers A Guide for Making Housing Decisions that provides more detailed information for housing options for older adults.

Written by: Kathy Tutt, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County

Sources:

National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Housing Options for Older Adults: A Guide for Making Housing Decisions, retrieved from: https://www.usaging.org/files/HousingOptions.pdf

Prosch, T. (2014). The Other Talk: A Guide to Talking with your Adult Children About the Rest of Your Life. United States: McGraw-Hill Education.

Read Full Post »

familyDoes the rush of the holiday season leave you feeling as if you might be missing something? With so many things to do and places to go, it is important not to overlook elderly family members. For many, the holidays are filled with celebrations and festivities with family and friends, but it can be a difficult time for those who have difficulty getting around, or are confined to their homes. Many seniors report feelings of loneliness and isolation, and these feelings can be exaggerated during the holidays. Seniors might choose to forego family celebrations and festivities for fear of falling or being a burden.

Unfortunately a day out with an elderly person cannot be spontaneous. However, with a little pre-planning and modifications, holiday traditions and activities can be made easier and safer for senior family members.  Contemplate ways to include older relatives who may have difficulty getting around.

First, consider the activity. Is it suitable for elderly family members?  When planning, some factors to think through are:

  • How far can the elderly person travel?
  • Are the costs affordable to the senior?
  • How much walking is involved?  Are there hills or other obstacles that would make it hard to navigate?
  • Is there wheelchair access?
  • Is there parking nearby?
  • Are restrooms easily accessible?
  • Are there benches or chairs that can be used?

It is also important to think about what you need to take with you on any outing. You will want to be prepared for anything. For example:

  • Make sure you have all the medications needed. Take an extended supply, just in case you are still out when the next dose is due.
  • Have clothing appropriate for the weather and the outing. Comfortable shoes and warm weather clothes are important. Bring along extra clothes in the case of an accident.
  • Bring some snacks and plenty of water.

Once you get to the activity, the next step is to be alert to any hazards or problems that might occur. Holidays are a joyful time of year meant for get-togethers, memories, and a touch of nostalgia. However, the holiday season can be one of the most dangerous times for seniors. For example:

  • You may be perfectly capable of navigating the string of Christmas lights sprawled across the living room floor, but an elderly person may trip over them and experience a severe fall.
  • Be aware of how decorations may affect your loved ones ability to move freely throughout the home without increasing the risk of falls. Just because you can easily navigate the extra decorations, doesn’t mean that your loved one will.
  • Look for extension cords or floor rugs that can lead to a fall.
  • Consider the effect that too much clutter can have on a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Too many lights, music and decorations can prove to be too overwhelming.
  • Make sure that walkways are clear of ice and snow.

The holidays give seniors something to look forward to, provide a stimulating change of scene, and create pleasant memories to carry with them. So, even though it may take a little extra planning and work, involving your senior family members in holiday celebrations can improve the meaning of the holiday season.

Sources:

http://www.ncoa.org/

http://aging.ohio.gov/home/

http://www.gmhfonline.org/gmhf/consumer/factsheets/depression_holidays.html

Writer: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County

Reviewer:  Cheryl Barber Spires, SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, West Region

Read Full Post »