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Health & Wellness - February 12, 2021

Is Home a Safe Place for Aging Parents?

Living independently at home, or aging in place, is the preferred option for many older adults. The desire to stay in the family home as long as possible is understandable – it is comfortable, familiar, and gives seniors a sense of independence. However, as health, mobility, and cognitive changes occur, you may wonder if home is a safe place for your aging parents, or if you should consider assisted living.

Understanding the Desire and Dangers of Aging in Place

According to a survey by the AARP, 76% of older Americans would prefer to remain in their current home, but less than 50% believe they will be able to do so. Most seniors will eventually need some form of help with activities such as cooking, shopping, doing yard work, and maintaining the home.

As your parents age, their vision, motor skills, and hearing may decline, and driving can become difficult or risky. For married couples, it’s common for one spouse to take on more of the tasks of daily living,  also called activities of daily living, which can lead to resentment, depression, or rifts in their relationship. Adult children who step in to become caregivers find themselves in a role reversal which is challenging for everyone. As your parents needs increase, the demands of your own family, job, and responsibilities don’t decrease and this can lead to caregiver burnout.

Parents can be reluctant to ask for or accept help, not wanting to be a burden. Fear is also a factor, because admitting they need help means things will likely change. They might feel angry or embarrassed about not being able to maintain their independence and control over their own lives. This can lead to parents hiding information about their physical or mental well-being.

In addition, the home that served someone with a growing family is often not suitable for retirement. Modifications to the home, such as grab bars and handrails, or remodeling to creating a main floor bedroom might be necessary to make the home accessible and safe. Read AARP’s recommendations on making a home safer for seniors.

Aging at Home vs Assisted Living

For older adults who need only occasional help, remaining in their home can be a good choice. As needs increase, hiring a home health care professional is a viable option, but it is often a stopgap measure. A fall, an unforeseen health crisis, or burnout of family members who are providing care can force an emergency move. A better option for many is to think of moving into an assisted living community as a way to age in place in a new space.

The Changing Face of Assisted Living

When many people think of assisted living, they might think of a nursing home or hospital type of environment where people go to rehabilitate after surgery, or place where only those who are extremely ill live. Today’s assisted living communities are full of independent and engaged seniors who have opportunities for solitude, socialization, and adventure.

Modern assisted living communities offer a variety of lifestyle programs including elevated dining experiences, fitness studios, beautifully maintained outdoor spaces, as well as lounges and living rooms with opportunities to safely socialize with other vibrant older adults. For those wanting privacy, an assisted living community offers a maintenance-free living option to age in place with the peace of mind that care and support is available when needed.

At an assisted living community, you do not have to leave home to find friends, take a fitness class, eat at a restaurant, play games, or enjoy beauty and services. Assisted living communities offer a variety of safe, socially distanced life enrichment activities as well as organized outings.

At Villagio Senior Living, residents live as independently and privately as desired, while receiving the support they need. In our close-knit Tuscan villages in Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado, we offer independent living, assisted living, and memory support programs designed to promote passion, individual purpose and empowerment.

Your parents may only need a small amount of support now, but as their needs increase, a higher level of support is available without interruption. You and your parents can have peace of mind knowing that a caring support team is equipped to handle changing care needs.

Benefits of an Assisted Living Community During COVID-19

There are many emotional and physical health benefits to living in an assisted living community. Life at Villagio Senior Living is built around our Life Enrichment Philosophy, which is based on the four facets of successful aging: Social, Intellectual, Inspiration and Physical, or SIIPs for short. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many seniors living at home have suffered from extreme isolation and loneliness. While federal and local health restrictions limited activities and outside visitors to many assisted living communities, residents living inside of a community have had access to a team of dedicated professionals whose number priority is to care for the mental and physical well-being of residents. One of the most exciting benefits we are able to provide for residents is access to the COVID-19 vaccine, while many older adults living at home are left to navigate the complicated distribution system on their own. Read more about Villagio’s COVID-19 vaccination programs in Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. Or, Read more about Villagio’s COVID-19 vaccination program here.

Signs Is it Time for Assisted Living?

Many older adults are excited to retire and have more time to enjoy hobbies and spend time with friends, yet many seniors find themselves isolated and lonely. Aging in place at home may seem appealing, but for many seniors may mean a loss of independence.

Cognitive decline and mobility challenges can make performing the activities of daily living (ADLs) difficult and frustrating. Although it is hard to admit we or someone we love needs extra help, it is better to be proactive and begin thinking about assisted living before it becomes an urgent need. We understand this problem and we are striving to do everything we can to better our seniors. Movement 4 Life is working on improving the physical and mental health of all residents and reducing fall risk, by implementing an expert-designed exercise program that incorporates 4 major movements and increased regular activity.

Some warning signs that it may be time include unexplained weight loss, neglecting personal hygiene, forgetting to pay bills or take medications, struggles talking on the phone or using familiar technology, as well as depression or increased anxiety. Making the move before these warning signs present themselves may make the transition easier. Read more about knowing if your parents are ready for a senior living community.

The decision to move to an assisted living community is difficult. Our friendly team members are happy to help you on your senior living journey. Contact us to learn more.

Download our senior living resource guide, “Helping You Make an Empowered Decision” here.

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