Staying home as long as possible is an essential aspect of maintaining one’s overall wellbeing, especially as we age. By remaining in the comfort of our homes, we can preserve our independence, social connections, and physical and mental health. In this article, we will discuss strategies and support services available to help individuals stay home longer, safely, and independently.
According to a survey of seniors who planned to age in place, the most popular reasons for their preferences were “to stay in a home I like” and “to be near friends and family.” Additionally, 65 per cent of people between the ages of 60 and 70 find it “very easy” to live independently.
The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care Corporate Plan 2018–2019 states that aged care initiatives over the next four years aim to provide additional support and services to promote greater independence, mobility and autonomy, reducing or delaying the need for more complex aged care support services. These statistics suggest that staying at home longer and living independently can have a positive impact on the lives of seniors.
Some of the benefits of staying in one’s own home include the ongoing stimulation of cognitive and physical abilities, and keeping the mind and body active. Familiar surroundings offer a sense of security, comfort, and stability, contributing to better mental health.
Research has shown that older adults who maintain a sense of independence and familiarity with their living environment are more likely to experience a higher quality of life. Therefore, staying home longer is crucial not just for physical health but also for maintaining emotional wellbeing.
To ensure a safe and independent lifestyle at home, it is vital to remain active physically, mentally, and socially. Here are some tips to achieve this:
Incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine, such as walking, swimming, or participating in group fitness classes. Regular physical activity helps maintain mobility, strength, and overall health.
Incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine can be as simple as going for a walk around the block or participating in a group fitness class at a local community centre. Many community centres offer senior-friendly exercise classes such as water aerobics or chair yoga.
Engaging in mentally stimulating activities can be as simple as doing a crossword puzzle or reading a book. Many libraries offer free classes or workshops where you can learn new skills, such as painting or knitting.
Stay connected with friends, family, and community groups. Participate in social activities, attend events, and join clubs or organisations. Maintaining an active social life helps prevent isolation and supports emotional well-being. This might mean maintaining or reigniting a connection with community groups you were a part of previously, such as sports clubs, church groups or other groups.
Staying connected with friends and family can be as simple as making a phone call or sending an email. Many community centres offer senior-friendly social activities such as card games or movie nights. Check with your local council to see what activities are available.
Ensure a balanced and nutritious diet, focusing on whole foods, fruits, and vegetables. Look up some new and interesting recipes online or in cookbooks or grocery store magazines to find new and exciting recipes that incorporate all your favourite foods. Regular check-ups with healthcare providers help monitor and maintain overall health. Talk to your GP about a schedule of check-ups that suits you, and if you are managing any conditions that require the attention of a specialist, ensure that you are on top of your appointments.
Being proactive and seeking help from Allied Health professionals, such as physios, osteopaths, chiropractors and/or podiatrists, can also help with maintaining your health.
To stay home longer, accessing support services may become necessary. For individuals under the age of 65, privately-funded services can be found online. Those over 65 may need a referral to access government-funded services, which can be obtained through a GP, aged care navigator, placement consultant, or community healthcare worker. The My Aged Care website is an excellent resource for finding information and assistance regarding support services.
Various support services can help individuals stay home longer, including:
Services such as laundry, shopping, gardening, housekeeping, and handyman tasks can be provided by home support services.
Assistance with meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal preparation can be arranged through home support services. Services such as meal delivery may be beneficial.
Home support services can help with grocery shopping and other errands, ensuring essential items are readily available.
Organisations can provide transportation to medical appointments, social events, and other necessary outings.
Home health aides can offer assistance with activities of daily living, such as dressing and bathing.
Understanding the range of available services and tailoring them to meet individual needs is crucial for a safe and independent lifestyle at home.
Staying home longer, safely, and independently is an essential aspect of maintaining one’s overall well-being. By remaining active physically, mentally, and socially and accessing available support services, individuals can continue to live in the comfort of their homes.
We encourage you to explore the resources and services discussed in this article to make informed decisions about your ageing journey and ensure a safe, independent lifestyle at home.