How to know if it’s time to make a move? Three essential factors to consider when aging in place

August 30, 2017

Aging in Place: if you’re debating making a move or staying in your home, you’ve likely heard this phrase before. And, while the words might seem self-explanatory, there’s a lot more to “aging in place” than simply describing a person’s choice to age in their longtime home or community.

In fact, aging in place is far more than a want to remain in your preferred housing — it’s also the planning of how you want needs to be met, who will meet them, and when.

But making the necessary choices now about where you want to live to ensure your quality of life can be overwhelming and time-consuming. You need to consider your home and community preferences, finances, available services, and anticipate changes that might happen down the road. Easier said than done, right?

Here at Iona, we suggest you first think through what might be needed to age in place. Common factors include:

1. Home modifications

If you had a change in your hand strength, vision, balance, coordination, or mobility, could you still manage in your current home? Does your home have stairs or different levels? Do you have an accessible bathroom? Do you have the financial or time resources to undergo renovations? These are all questions you need to consider when deciding if you can stay in your current home.

2. Transportation

Having some kind of transportation in place is essential for maintaining your quality of life. Getting to and from appointments, running errands, or enjoying social activities become increasingly difficult without a reliable transportation option. And even if you can drive now, the reality is that you need to plan for some period of not being able to drive.

3. Meal Preparation/Grocery delivery

As you age, you may find that grocery shopping will become too difficult, whether it’s walking around a large grocery store or carrying heavy grocery bags. A grocery delivery service can be a big help.  A wide variety of healthy prepared meal delivery programs have also emerged in the DC area in recent years.

Fortunately, there are a number of services, both free and fee-based, that you can tap into to help you age in place, including:

1. In-home assistance

Many people need a home health aide or companion to help with daily tasks, if only for just a few hours. Common tasks an aide can assist with include medication reminders, food preparation, or other housework.

2. Care Management

A care manager can assess your needs, help arrange services, and monitor the services to make sure your needs are met. They can also be on-call in case of emergency.

3. Villages

Villages provide access to services that support the goal of remaining at home as long as possible. Volunteers and limited paid staff can help with transportation or simple tasks (like walking a dog), provide social support, and make referrals to vetted services.

While it may seem overwhelming, making your plan now will only help you better handle challenges that may arise in the future.  By starting today, you are giving yourself the time to think about your needs, research your options, and put together a plan that is good for you and your family.

Remember, Iona is here for you!  You can schedule a consultation with an Iona care manager for a comprehensive evaluation of your housing needs and personalized referrals by calling (202) 895-9448.