It’s a conflict that develops for numerous families: older adults adamantly like to age in place in their own homes, while their family members worry about their well-being. And there’s a debate to be made in both cases. Seniors, especially those who live alone, encounter multiple risks: falls that could possibly result in serious injury, challenges in sustaining the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed as aging progresses, even a vulnerability to scam artists. Yet independence is paramount to self-worth, regardless of age.
Striking a balance that fits the requirements of both sides is often difficult, but there are factors to keep in mind that will help.
- Let go of ageism. While there is undoubtedly credibility to fears over well-being for older adults at home, particularly if they live alone, the other side of the equation is our perception of aging. Pioneer Network President/CEO Penny Cook explains, “Our negative perception helps marginalize older adults. They become ‘less than’ because that helps us cope and then we take on the parental model.” A change in this thinking permits us to keep the respect for seniors which they so appropriately deserve, and to understand how essential it really is to allow them to continue being as independent as possible during aging.
- Know their rights. Legally, unless seniors are having difficulties with cognitive issues, they continue to have the legal right to make decisions independently – whether or not the options made are the ones we might have preferred for them. Attorney Barbara Cashman explains, “Even if I decide to give my money away, a judge could say that it’s my money and my choice what to do with it.”
- Communicating is key. As with any issue, calm, rational discussions are often the best weapon in calming stressful circumstances and coming to a resolution that works for all. Sit down with your senior loved one and talk about your thoughts, but get ready to listen with an open mind to his / her opinions and feelings. Take into account that an answer may not be arrived at in a single discussion; use a preliminary conversation as a launching point, and agree to revisit the situation occasionally to reevaluate.
Most especially, understand there is a practical alternative: the knowledgeable in-home care services of CareWorks Health Services. We are able to aid in a number of ways to maximize well-being, offering loved ones peace of mind, while empowering older adults to maintain independence, making their own choices and decisions in the comfort and familiarity of home. Contact us online or call us at (949) 859-4700 for an in-home assessment and to learn more about our Orange County home care services.