Helping the Elderly Stay At Home
April 29, 2014

With care home bills seemingly set to continue rising, increasing numbers of people are looking to stay in their own homes. For elderly people with only minimal care needs, staying at home with a few small adjustments can be easy. Many older people would choose to stay in their own homes anyway, surrounded by their memories and the settings they are used to.

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Who Should Stay At Home?

In deciding whether or not it is appropriate to stay at home in old age, there are a few factors which should be carefully considered. Although many people would prefer to stay in their own surroundings, there are some for whom this is not practical or safe. First of all, it is important to take into account the accessibility of the location. If the elderly person’s home is rural and isolated, away from public services or medical care, it might not be the most sensible choice to remain there. As people age, their ability to drive might deteriorate and in rural areas, it might become difficult to do the shopping, get to the doctor or meet usual needs. In more urban locations and places with good bus coverage, this is less of an issue. It is also important to consider how accessible the house actually is.

There are also medical conditions to consider. If there are chronic conditions which are likely to deteriorate over time, it is essential that these are considered when deciding whether or not to stay at home. Even if there are no illnesses at the present time, these might develop in the future. The proximity to good healthcare or to family members who might be able to offer support should be thought through carefully.

Help to Stay At Home

There are lots of additional support items available to help elderly people who want to stay in their own homes. Although older people have had a lifetime of looking after themselves, running their own household and being independent, changes in life mean an increased reliance on other people which can be difficult to manage. Learning to accept help will play a significant role in sustaining independence into later life. There are a number of charitable organisations and community support groups who are able to help people with household tasks, like housekeeping and maintenance. This can also include driving services to take people to appointments. Many doctor’s surgeries have options for senior patients who are unable to drive themselves to meetings.

In addition, a number of items are available to make life at home as easy as possible. First and foremost, practical additions can be made like handles by the bath or on the staircase, or moving the bathroom to the ground floor for easier access. Increasing the accessibility of the current home will ensure that it can be lived in for longer. Secondly, there are a range of personal alarms for the elderly which notify a call centre in the event of an accident and can offer the reassurance needed to help the older person sustain their confidence on their own.

With a few modifications, remaining at home is more than possible for many people.
Image attributed to worradmu