The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines Aging in Place as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level.” A recent survey from AARP found that 80% of individuals over the age of 65 prefer to Age in Place.
Aging in Place, however, requires more than just deciding to remain in one’s current home; it also requires planning. Unfortunately, planning is not typical. It is hard to imagine needing assistance to do the things one is currently doing on a daily basis. It is especially difficult to accept the reality of aging when we live in a culture that often views aging negatively.
Current research indicates that about 70% of individuals over age 65 will require care at some point in their life. To avoid needing to receive this care in a nursing home, it is important to have a plan. The National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC) advises that to create a solid foundation for a plan, it is important to consider the Five Pillars of Aging, which are:
1)Housing – As individuals age, home living can encompass more than just living in their current home. It can also be transitioning to a space that is more appropriate for an individual’s needs and circumstances. It is important that the environment where one chooses to live is safe and comfortable.
2)Health and Wellness – Aging comes with overall changes in health. Remaining as independent and active as possible with changing health requires planning. One needs to understand the choices available as well as understand what resources are needed for those choices.
3)Personal Finance – One’s personal finances often dictate the choices and decisions available. Too many people incorrectly assume that Medicare or Medicare Advantage will pay for all their long-term care needs. Furthermore, not understanding how Medical Assistance (also known as Medicaid) works can put limitations on one’s available choices.
4)Transportation – Driving a vehicle is an activity that can seem routine. However, what happens when driving is no longer an option? Doing things such as going to the grocery store, visiting family, or getting to medical appointments can become challenging. For this reason, it is important to plan for alternatives for when health issues, either temporarily or permanently, make one unable to drive.
5)Community and Social Interaction – Remaining socially active and engaged is important to Aging in Place. Social interactions with others can help with depression, lighten one’s mood and promote a sense of well-being. There is no wrong answer to what it means to be socially engaged, it is different for everyone.
Pathstones by Phoebe addresses all the Five Pillars of Aging. Members join Pathstones when they are still active and healthy. Pathstones then guides members in building a solid foundation for Aging in Place and then serves as a partner for the entire journey of aging. This includes helping and guiding members, as well as their families, as needs change.
To learn more about how Pathstones supports Aging in Place, please contact us at (610)794-6700.