Did you know that the US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that over 70% of adults living past the age of 65 years will eventually need some form of long-term care services and support? You’ve probably seen the ads on television for senior living facilities or in-home aides. These types of services have become big business. But not all seniors can afford in-home aides or have the desire to give up the family home where they are comfortable and independent. That is why the National Institute on Aging (NIA) promotes a concept called “aging in place.” Aging in place is the concept of helping seniors find tools and resources to grow old in their own homes, maintaining their independence for as long as possible. NIA has developed a website, click here to help seniors prepare to accommodate for the eventual need for long-term care at home.
It starts with a plan
NIA recommends you start by anticipating what needs you may have and what resources may be available to you. Do you have a chronic illness like diabetes or COPD that may cause physical limitations over time? Can you anticipate in what ways those limitations may make everyday tasks more challenging? Do you have family or friends who live nearby? Are they willing and able to assist you as your needs grow? While it’s hard to know the exact services you may need, it is helpful to begin preparations and develop a plan as best you can before those needs arise.
Understand what resources are available
We at Catholic Charities, as well as other social service organizations like the local Area Agency on Aging, and the local and state offices on aging can provide more information about aging in place resources in your community. One program we provide is our Senior Volunteer Companion Program, which links individuals over 55 with seniors needing companionship and support. This free service can remove some of the burden from spouses and family members without relying on paid resources, leaving additional funds available for more intensive support services.
Aging is something we all face. Planning and being prepared while still able is essential to retaining independence and a better quality of life over time.
Learn more about Catholic Charities Senior Companion volunteer program or our other resources and programs for seniors at www.hopetolife.org.