As an experienced case manager for in-home support services for the elderly, I know there are many areas where support is needed.
In my experience, the top services requested to continue aging in place by the elderly is support for domestic assistance: cleaning, washing dishes, making the bed, or general house tidying up and gardening: mowing lawns, weeding the garden, and pruning trees
As you can expect, the knees don’t tend to be too kind to kneeling like they used to.
So I wanted to focus on elderly support in America to help you identify home healthcare options.
Elderly individuals and their families in America have various options for accessing support to enable aging in place (AIP) while maintaining a high quality of life.
If you’re in my position you’re starting to think about what support I can offer my parents. My folks are now in their 70s, and like all of us, we tend to need more help from others to staying aging in place.
And if you’re like my father you may have had several health and medical issues along the way which is likely to increase the need and complexity for support.
Table of Contents
What are the top priorities reported by elderly to keep aging in place.
A study conducted using the Delphi method has identified key factors for aging in place which aligned with the need for elderly support at home. These two three factors include:
A safe home environment,
Social networks, and
There were other key factors I wanted to draw from the study which I also believe are very important:
Having enough money to afford to stay successfully in the community
Access to mental health programs (anxiety, depression and loneliness)
Keeping physically and mentally active
Maintaining continence (using continence aids or not).
Not having mental health issues
Perception of own healthiness.
Positive attitude – self-esteem/sense of personal identity
Participates in their own future planning – health, financial, learning new skills.
So with these points in mind, let’s delve into areas you should consider to support your aging family member.
Safe Home Environment: Creating a Safe and Accessible Home Environment for the Elderly
This is a particular important aspect: a safe home environment is essential for the elderly to maintain their independence and reduce any risk that impacts their health and wellbeing.
A common way to address safety is through home modifications such as installing grab bars in bathrooms, adding railings to staircases, and implementing non-slip flooring.
Through accessing an occupational therapist (OT) they will complete a comprehend assessment which includes presented risks within the home and offer solutions to significantly reduce the risk of falls and accidents.
To also help with safety in the home is accessing appropriate support aids and equipment. This could be as simple as purchasing the best lawn chair for the backyard but also electric recliners, walking frames or better supporting footwear.
Social Networks: Combatting Isolation and Loneliness
This is a crucial aspect for any age, let alone the elderly, and certainly a strong value for enkel.life: maintaining meaningful social connection.
Sadly, as we get older we tend to lose family members and long term friendships which means we may need to be more intentional in engaging social networks for ongoing human connection.
Social connections are crucial for combating isolation and loneliness among the elderly.
If they experience a lack in their community you can access local community centers, senior clubs, and online groups to provide opportunities for seniors to engage with others, share experiences, and participate in activities.
Websites like Caring.com offer guides and resources for aging in place, emphasizing the importance of a strong support network.
Coordinated Care: Holistic Healthcare Services
When care is provided through a coordinated care approach involving medical professionals, caregivers and family, and social workers it addresses the medical, emotional, and social needs of the individual holistically.
This approach is in direct contrast to health professionals, family and support services working isolated without networking between each other and failing to coordinate the support for an individual.
In my experience as a social worker, it generally leads to a worse outcome for the individual and what is called in the sector “service burnout”. This is due to cross over of the same support or double up of services and often the need for the consumer to repeat the same story for each service.
So when you look for support for your elderly parent, find a provider who has social workers or case managers who can assist with this coordination.
Financial Assistance: Accessing Funding Options
The Land of the Free and The Home of the Brave isn’t known for its strong social support but seniors can access funding options such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits to cover medical and healthcare expenses.
These agencies can also provide financial support to access in-home care and equipment.
Mental Health Support: Tailored Counseling and Therapy
Mental health is how we measure or understand our psychosocial wellbeing.
As we age we still need to consider and support mental health.
Accessing mental health services that are tailored to seniors’ needs, including counseling, therapy, and support groups, are essential for their emotional well-being. As we’ve discussed already these services address loneliness as well as more clinical issues like depression, and anxiety.
Explore resources on Caring.com that guide seniors in maintaining mental health while aging in place.
Telehealth: Remote Medical Care
Now as technology allows, closing that digital gap, we can now access professional help from our home through Telehealth services.
With Telehealth technologies remote patient monitoring or use of health apps on smartphones and tablets, better internet-connected health tech is making sure the elderly can get help no matter where they are.
Specifically, it means that mental health services can be tailored to seniors’ needs, including counseling, therapy, and support groups. These types of services can be provided via Telehealth.
You can explore resources on Caring.com that guide you in how to access this type of service.
Local, state and community programs offer essential support for the elderly, including home-delivered meals, transportation assistance, and home visits by volunteers, case workers or social workers.
You can start your search via sites like settleinus.org for resources on community-based programs that enhance the quality of life.
Legal and Financial Planning
This can be quite an important aspect for protecting elderly rights by writing up legal documents like a living will, power of attorney for medical or financial, and estate planning to ensure that seniors’ wishes are respected regarding all decisions for their assets or personal.
If you are looking into this yourself, this will ensure your own safety and choice is maintained. Unfortunately, as I have seen firsthand, there is elderly abuse. Family members or suppose it friends can try to sell your house from out from under you. They can control your finances or make decisions on what medical needs you might have.
To find legal help go to usa.go
Technology for Seniors – tech for elderly care
It is amazing the new tech you can access to support your elderly loved one. Technological tools such as medical alert systems via a falls alarm lanyard or watch which connect to a mobile app to enhance safety and communication.
New tech for the home which include sensors that detect falls, or changes in the home environment (CO2), gas stoves left on, or medication reminders.
Learn more about home modifications, smart tech, and assistive devices from CareForth to create a technologically enriched living environment.
Caring for an elderly family member is tiring and burnout is a real and serious issue. Family caregivers need resources such as respite care options and caregiver support groups. These services provide relief and guidance for caregivers. Caring.com offers information on caregiver resources and assistance.
Please note that while these websites offer valuable information, it’s essential to verify the content and consult experts for personalized advice.
To summarize, all of us want to stay living in our own home and not spend our final years in a nursing home. Healthcare planners from around the world have identified best practices to help delay or prevent being admitted to a nursing home, while supporting older adults to remain in their community, in their home, for as long and safely as possible.
If you’re searching for elderly support in America, I hope these 10 services have been useful for aging in place.