Mom had been living independently at home for years after dad passed. While she could no longer drive, she managed to acquire rides from friends and neighbors for trips to the grocery store and continued with her regular activities in and outside of the home, including going to church every Sunday. However, as she got older, our family began to worry more and more, not because she was unable, simply because we knew that the natural aging process would leave her needing more help than we could provide – our family was scattered throughout the United States, with our closest sibling at least an hours’ drive away.
We made the decision to move mom into a local nursing home, one that we had extensively researched and visited ourselves. Although she had to give up her home, she would be able to remain in her beloved community which we thought was a good compromise. The move from her home to the nursing community was met with much resistance, but was completed in just a few months’ time. Once mom moved to the nursing home, we found that her spirit wasn’t the same. She didn’t seem happy when we called, and we feared she was failing to thrive.
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This story is one that could be told by any family with an aging parent or loved one. When asked, many people believe the primary reason for a senior’s loss of independence relates to health – whether from a fall, chronic illness or memory related condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. Although these things can leave a senior increasingly dependent on those around them, we’ve found that losing one’s home is the number one independence killer among the aging population. It is a loss that goes beyond the physical changes associated with aging, and ultimately has far reaching and negative effects on a senior’s health, wellness and outlook on life.
According to the study “Aging in Place in America”, commissioned by Clarity (a company that creates smart communication solutions for the 65+ population), senior citizens fear moving into a nursing home and losing their independence more than they fear death. On top of this, 82% of adult children – those that are part of the baby boomer generation – fear their aging parents will be mistreated if placed in a nursing home.
We always talk about how an overwhelming majority of seniors wish to age in place, to enjoy their golden years from the comfort of their own homes; however, we rarely speak to a senior’s fear about aging in place comfortably, safely and with dignity. While 90% of seniors and older adults have the desire to age in place, more than half are concerned about their ability to do so.
Aging in place is not an impossible task. Between new technologies that help monitor a senior’s activities at home and support services like in-home care in Warren, our aging parents and loved ones can continue to enjoy a familiar and safe home environment as well as their cherished possessions and belongings. There are also a growing number of services and organizations that can help pay for the costs of care and assistance at home including Medicaid, Veterans Affairs, and certain non-Medicaid financial assistance programs.
A senior’s home isn’t just the place they live, it is a meaningful piece of their history that completes who they are and helps give them purpose as they enter their golden years. At Home Care Assistance of New Jersey, we are helping change the way the world ages. We offer support to seniors in Warren and the surrounding communities because we know the importance of home for older adults and believe that every senior should be given the opportunity to age in place.
Have we got you thinking about in-home care services? Call us at 908-450-9400 and speak with one of our friendly Care Managers. We offer complimentary consultations and are here to help whether you’re looking for information or just want to have a conversation. And don’t forget to mention this post when we talk!
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