Aspects of Aging – Housing
Of all the things that matter in our lives, our sense of “home” is one of the most important. When an event, a stroke, for a good example, occurs changing one’s degree of safety and independence, decisions must be made about remaining at home, receiving in-home care, or moving to a care environment, such as Assisted Living or Complex Care.
It is generally accepted that most people thrive better in their own milieu but a physical assessment of the home establishes the practicality of that decision quite clearly and quickly. With safety in mind, take a good look at the number and placement of stairs, turning radius in bathroom and reach-ability of kitchen cabinets, range, counters. Sometimes simple modifications such as grab bars, standing poles, removing or reversing a door, changing the size, style and accessibility of bed, shower/bath or furniture can make the difference.
Sometimes, despite all of the efforts made to modify the home for safety, convenience and comfort, the better decision is to relocate the affected person to Assisted Living or Complex Care. And then comes the big question of affordability …… just to compound the issue totally and cause more angst than family members thought they could handle.
Thankfully, there are more options everyday, more skilled professionals standing by to assist and more sources of practical information to be found both electronically and face to face with experienced people. This period of long-term planning is one of the most difficult for an affected person and for their friends and family.
Before a detailed plan can be implemented, there are two basic chores that must be completed.
- Ensure that all legal responsibilities are complete and in place: the Will, the Power of Attorney, the Representation Agreement, the Directive. Ideally, these have been in place long before any catastrophic event, but if overlooked, must be agreed to and filed with a lawyer, immediately.
- Call for an Assessment to be done by the local Health Authority to determine if there are services and/or financial support available whether or not they are needed at the moment.
Written by Anne Duggan, Invited Advisor to Bell Alliance on Aspects of Aging