3 Beneficial Tools That Will Help You With Aging In Place
Since I am now in my 30's, the way I see my future has changed. I no longer think about my life going from year-to-year, but more so 20 to 40 years from now. I hold a higher value on being prepared for the future and making myself knowledgeable and open to new innovations that are/will be available. One of the things I think about often is the future of nursing homes and how I am so determined to remain in my BOMB (definition: something very cool; good) HGTV inspired ranch-style home -- -- speaking it into existence.
I honestly have mixed feelings towards nursing homes. I often hear a lot of people say nursing homes are the last stop, but who wants to hear anything about a final destination, unless it's on a cruise? I even hear people talk about the future of them living in a nursing home and how LIT (definition: overly excited; enthusiastic) their hallway will be. I understand the purpose of nursing homes, but over the years people have developed beliefs that everyone will eventually have a need to reside in one. I disagree. Self-fulfilling prophecies is what it's called and if we aren't careful, what we put into the atmosphere can come to pass. I'm not trying to put anything out there that I will be unpleased with later on and in this case that's joking about living in a nursing home.
Like I've said in previous posts, let's change how we think and really get outside of the box with how we plan for our future. Before we think about leaving a community we call home and going to a place where everybody doesn't know our name, how about we figure out ways to age in place. Then, IF life shows us it's best to move into a nursing home, let's get even more creative and spice that bad boy up to make us forget it is a facility. For now, we can focus on how to remain in our homes.
*Pause: there's a new term I just mentioned that you may not know. Aging in place is a person living in the residence of his/her choice, for as long as he/she can, as one ages.*
The other day I came across an article in the Washington Post about a physician named Dr. Bill Thomas. He's looking to change the game of how we view aging, with hopes to normalize it. One of the ways he feels we can do this is based on a project he developed called the Eden Alternative. The name alone should instantly make you think of the Garden of Eden, at least that is his hope. At any rate, this is one of the many directions of where healthcare can go in the future and a reason why we can see it possible to age in place as we reach higher levels in this thing called life.
With projects like The Eden Alternative, trans-generational designs and Home and Community based programs, we have 3 dope tools we can use that will help us with aging in place. What many families today may not realize is the benefits of a loved one being able to remain in his/her home. It is a place of comfort and familiarity. However, there may be times where one finds the need to downgrade or move in with a loved one, but even this is still better than having to move into a nursing home (my opinion).
*Let's Take a Closer look*
3-tools to help you age in place
1. The Eden at Home Alternative: initially this program was known as just the Eden Alternative. It was developed as a way to radicalize nursing homes by introducing live animals and plants. Dr. Thomas', the guy I mentioned earlier, goal was to get away from regimentation and institutionalization, which both work against well-being and good health as we get older. Today, the Eden Alternative has a new addition, known as Eden at Home for those who still reside in their homes.
So far I like where this is going. It focuses on 10 principles that all work to enhance quality of life and well-being. Eden at Home has developed toolkits and other resources that will aid caregivers and those receiving the care. It looks at both parties as one in the same and highlights the importance of both roles, the caregiver and the recipient of care.
Eden at Home also focuses on creating an environment that provides contact with plants, animals and children. These things have been known to give people a positive outlook on life, feel valued and promote strong relationships. In at nutshell, Eden at Home understands the importance of being able to remain in the home and wants to ensure individuals are fully equipped with being successful at this.
2. Transgenerational Design: in today's society, innovators all over are creating products and services that can help all generations live a better life. It took 'em a while to get to that point, but aye what better time than now. A trans-generational design focuses on all people, and not just a specific ability or age. Basically, everybody is comfortable and made to feel included.
The focus is making everything barrier free. For example, if someone you know is in a wheelchair, it can be difficult getting through certain doorways because of the measurements. With trans-generational designs, all doorways will have the appropriate width and height for anyone to be able to enter and exit without difficulty. When thinking about our homes and ways to improve its safety, it can be as simple as replacing a door knob with one that is easier to grab. We could even redesign our showers and bathtubs, which will help us easily get in and out of them AT ANY AGE.
Many people think when re-designing a home to make it easier to get around, that it means the home will be less attractive. Nah, boo. Today, creators have worked on making necessities visibly more attractive with dope designs. So when looking for the home you want to start your family and grow older in, it's best to plan ahead for the future of when you get older and normal biological age changes begin. Personally, I would prefer a one level home, or a house with the master bedroom on the first floor.
3. Taking Advantage of Community Based Programs: There are a lot of programs that have been made available to older adults and can help them age in place, but not many people are aware. The first place to start is with your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA), which is for individuals 60 and older. This agency works to make sure adults still have their sense of dignity and independence. AAA helps by providing referrals for programs, finding congregate meals, transportation, senior centers, adult day cares and more. You can find your local AAA here and then enter your zip code.
For those who haven't quite made it to your 60's yet, or are over this age and are still active in the community, there's a great plan of action that was developed by AARP (find the AARP plan here). This plan gives tips and advice on how to get involved in your community to create safer neighborhoods and shopping spaces for all ages. For example, the infrastructure of some sidewalks can be hazardous for anyone. If the pavement is uneven and we don't notice it while walking, that is an accident waiting to happen. However, if we were to highlight those areas, think of how many injuries we are preventing. I will say this AARP plan is lengthy, but for my future/current policymakers and all my people who claim to be "woke" (definition: aware of current affairs) and wanting to see change, it is a great place to start with making changes that will have a positive impact on so many lives.
*What's Your point, christina?*
I think at times we are too focused on the now. I understand the importance of paying attention to today and letting the future take care of itself, but I will never stop stressing the importance of being prepared. There's a thin line between just living in the moment and making sure things are in place for our future. I don't want to make it seem as if aging in place is an easy task, or won't cost some coins, but that's the whole reason behind us preparing for it today. These tools I mentioned are just some of the things that can help us prepare.
I say all of this to say that there's hope. We don't have to see ourselves somewhere just because people say that is where everyone goes. We don't have to live up to the stereotypes of being placed in a nursing home because we've reached a certain age. We do, however, want to be safe, well taken care of and healthy. If it comes to a point where that is no longer happening, it is okay to move into a safer living space, such as a nursing home.
Well, good people I hope this has been helpful in some type of way to get you thinking about your living situations as you age I don't want to downplay the importance of nursing homes, but I want to make it clear that it doesn't always have to be our first option. I know a lot of residents who live in nursing homes that definitely prefer residing in their own homes. It won't always be easy because our circumstances can change at any moment, but know there are organizations and communities out there looking to help!
Let me know your thoughts! I'd love to hear from you and learn more about other topics you're interested in. Also, let's keep in touch! You can follow me on Instagram: @gero_what, like my page on Facebook: @gero-what and subscribe to my YouTube channel: Gero-what?!
Like Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz
"There's no place like home."