There are many questions to answer as we grow older, and one of the biggest is where to live.
For many seniors, staying put creates an invaluable sense of comfort and security. Aging in place is more than just staying in one’s home. It’s remaining connected to the neighborhood and community as well as family, friends, and acquaintances. It’s the familiarity of the local pharmacy, grocery store, and that favorite restaurant. Aging in place is about remaining connected to the people and places who have been part of one’s life for so many years.
With planning, and occasionally a bit of assistance, aging in place can be a good, safe option for many seniors.
Making a Plan – The Key to Successful Aging in Place
When beginning the planning process for aging in place, there can be so many things to consider it can feel overwhelming. That’s where IKOR of Charlottesville comes in – our trained geriatric care managers know where to start.
How you want to grow old starts with a basic question, “what do you want?” It may sound like a simple question, but it is one that our clients have rarely explored deeply. With the right guidance from our life care management team, we help our clients develop a road map for how they want to age, and we help them ensure it’s achievable within their means.
Making Home Safe
Safe aging in place starts by ensuring the home environment is safe. As we age, mobility and agility decline leading to an increased risk of falling and the need for adaptive mobility devices.
Initially, aging in place means paying closer attention to items such as area rugs, extension cords, and loose stairs – all of which can lead to accidental trips or falls. Often, brighter lights are needed in the kitchen and bathroom to make it easier to see. Doorknobs and faucets may be changed to levers to make them easier to operate.
For seniors with mobility challenges, living in a home may require more extensive home modifications such as wider doorways and a stairlift to ensure comfort or safety. Reaching into the bottom of the washer, or bending down to get clothes out of the dryer, may require different appliances or modifying the laundry room to minimize bending and reaching.
At IKOR, we know what investments to prioritize that will make a home safer. Our geriatric care managers are experienced registered nurses with years of clinical experience who often notice little details during a home safety assessment that others miss.
Connecting to Services and Professionals
Aging comes with a unique set of challenges. While medical or physical challenges often come to mind first, ensuring one’s financial and legal affairs are in order is just as important.
It doesn’t take much searching on the internet to find heartbreaking stories of families who wish they had taken the time to understand their loved ones’ care preferences. In these stories, the families only realize this after their loved one has become incapable of making their decisions. Our experienced patient advocates help guide this conversation raising topics that otherwise might be overlooked. We carefully document these care preferences and help our clients create advance directives.
When our clients don’t have up-to-date estate planning documents, we can help them find a lawyer or financial planner specializing in elder law. We remind our clients to review these documents regularly and update them as needed. We can also help guard against undue influence.
It isn’t uncommon for a senior to need a bit of extra help around the home. In cases where in-home care would help maintain independence, IKOR of Charlottesville can recommend the best in-home care providers based on our client’s needs. We work with our client and the in-home care company to develop a care plan and ensure everyone is on the same page.
Navigating the Medical Maze
IKOR’s Registered Nurse Advocates have a deep understanding of the medical system and senior’s unique needs. We handle it all, from coordinating communication between specialists and primary care physicians to setting up follow-up appointments and arranging transportation as necessary.
In addition to Registered Nurse Advocates, our life care management team includes personal needs coordinators, a licensed insurance broker, bookkeeper, and a social worker. They each have experience working with different parts of the healthcare system; together, they make it easier for our clients to navigate. As a team, they ensure medical bills are error-free and that insurance benefits are maximized.
Understanding medical jargon challenging. Knowing what clarifying questions to ask during a medical appointment can be even harder. Our Registered Nurse Advocates are always available to attend medical appointments. They will make sure your doctor understands what’s happening in your life and ensure that you understand treatment options and care plans.
Helping You Stay Safe and Independent
Of course, aging in place isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it situation. Your life care management team will help ensure your home adapts to your changing needs, and your essential life documents stay up to date and organized. Most importantly, we know your plans change, so we are here for you, ready to make sure your aging happens on your terms.
Advocating for You Is What We Do
Aging in place is a personal decision, but you don’t have to prepare for it alone.
IKOR of Charlottesville wants to make it as uncomplicated as it can be to remain in your home. Let us advocate for you by contacting us at 434.202.8887 today. We look forward to helping you enjoy your home and family for many years to come.