Helping Your Parents Plan to Age in Place – 5 Questions You Should Ask
There is a good chance your parents want to spend their golden years at home. Three out of four adults prefer to age in place and stay in their current community. But are they prepared for successful independent living?
If you haven’t had a conversation with your loved one about what it takes to safely and independently live at home, here are five questions you should ask to prepare for aging in place.
Is aging in place right for you?
While aging in place may seem like an easy decision to your parents, it is important to have an open and honest discussion about its viability. Due to know health issues or finances, aging in place may not be the best option in some circumstances.
According to AARP, “While 76% of Americans age 50 and older say they prefer to remain in their current residence and 77% would like to live in their community as long as possible, just 59% anticipate they will be able to stay in their community.”
Every family’s situation is different. While less than perfect health doesn’t necessitate a nursing home or assisted-living facility, a combination of factors needs to be seriously considered and planned for when deciding to live at home.
Have you identified necessary home modification?
In the previously mentioned AARP survey, “one-third expect their homes to need major modifications to accommodate aging needs.”
Seniors and their families need to make certain their living environment supports self-sufficiency and independence; this translates to a need for home modifications, including stairlifts, senior-friendly flooring, ramps and smart-home technology.
It’s recommended to go through the house, room-by-room to identify potential hazards or opportunities to improve ease of use or accessibility. However, suppose you don’t feel comfortable making these types of assessments. In that case, many experts do home safety assessments, and professionals like an occupational therapist and Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) can help recommend home modifications.
Transportation – How will you get around?
Discussing driving and transportation is also an important factor when aging in place. Here are some of the questions to think through:
- Will your loved one need a modified vehicle or a lift for a power chair or scooter?
- What happens when your parents are no longer able to drive safely?
- Will you need to take them to doctor’s appointments and grocery shopping?
- Is there safe public transportation in the community?
- Are they comfortable using rideshare services like Lyft and Uber if needed?
If you anticipate, you will need to have a difficult conversation about no longer driving with a parent; take a look at a previous resource we created on talking to a parent about unsafe driving and what to do if they refuse to give up the keys.
Do you know the option available for in-home care or assistance?
Unfortunately, aging is unpredictable. Should an unforeseen accident or ailment require additional in-home resources for your loved one, are you familiar with the most common options?
As mentioned earlier, there are resources to help determine the need for home modifications. Still, there are also resources like home health aides and nurses who can help with personal care services and adult daycare that can help provide socialization and activities.
Will financial assistance be needed?
Planning for the cost of aging in place can not only help your parents live more comfortably in their golden years, but it can also remove the financial burden that sometimes occurs when plans are not put in place.
An elder law attorney or certified financial planner can help plan and layout a budget that will be needed to realistic age in place and identify where assistance will be required.
If you know your parents will need financial assistance, there are funding resources and grants that can help with stairlifts, vehicle lifts and other required aids for aging in place. Here are a few places to research:
Medicaid may provide funding for a stairlift under the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services waivers. Home and community-based services (HCBS) focus on helping beneficiaries receive in-home services and have various resources.
Private Health Insurance
While it is less common, some private health insurance companies will pay for stairlifts. If your parents have private health insurance, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to the insurance company and verify what is and is not covered.
State-Based Home Modification Programs
Unfortunately, not every state offers assistance for the elderly or disabled, but more than half of the states provide financial aid in the form of non-medical state assistance. Check to see if your state offers a Nursing home diversion program. To help get you started, here is a list of states that have non-medical state assistance programs.
Lastly, if your parent is a Veteran, the VA health care will provide assistance for stairlifts, powerchairs and other needed mobility devices for Veterans injured while in service.
Successful Independent Living
Aging in place can only be as successful as you and your family plan it to be.
At Harmar, we specialize in helping seniors choose the best mobility tools. Subscribe to our newsletter for up-to-date information on selecting the ideal stairlift for your home. It’s the best thing you can do to help maintain your independence.