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Homemaking as an Older Adult: What Are Your Options for Living Healthily?

How Long Can One Expect to Live?

In the United States, life expectancy has increased by nearly 25 years in the last century. Even though there has been a slight drop in recent years, people can still expect to live to about 78 years old, with many people living longer than that. With that being said, the second half of the Baby Boomers Generation (those born between 1955 and 1964) are approaching or are already at senior citizen age (65 and older) and are faced with the decision of where to spend the later years of their lives. Fortunately, many senior citizens are able to continue living in their own homes, but for some, that option may not be feasible.

Growing Old at Home

Aging in Place

“Aging in place” is when senior citizens choose to remain living safely and comfortably in their own homes. This is the best option (if possible) because it allows the individual to maintain a sense of independence, which is vital for mental wellness. One can age in place if they are physically and mentally able, meaning that they can perform simple daily tasks correctly; if the home they’re living in is safe, meaning that home modifications are made if necessary; and if they have a supportive community of family members, friends, and healthcare providers. The majority of senior citizens prefer this option over the others, because it allows them to stay in a familiar place.

Living with Family

Moving in with family is another popular option for senior citizens. Maybe their original home is too far away from family, or the necessary home modifications will be too expensive to manage. This option still gives the individual a sense of independence (if the family allows for it), and it also ensures their safety at all times because they’re not living alone. Many people have more peace of mind when their aging loved one is in the same home, or at least nearby.

Assisted Living Options

Another popular option is assisted living facilities or care, where the aging individual has some level of assistance from a professional. This can vary, from having a home health aide check in regularly to living full-time in a nursing home.

Retirement Homes

Retirement homes are home-like settings created especially for retired adults who have chosen not to or can no longer live in their own homes. These homes are suited for adults who can still live independently, though they may have some assistance from healthcare professionals if needed. Retirement homes are generally affordable, with the least expensive state being Illinois and the most expensive being North Dakota. This may not be the ideal option for those severely impacted by physical and/or mental limitations. Individuals with these disabilities need to be cared for in a medical setting, such as a nursing home.

Nursing Homes

Over the years, nursing homes have gotten a bad reputation, with claims of abuse and neglect of patients being reported. Unfortunately, this is a very common occurrence, with more than half of all nursing home workers surveyed admitted to this abuse. Still, nursing homes are currently the best option for senior citizens and even younger adults with severe physical and/or mental impairments. This is why it’s important to take care of your health by eating a balanced and nutritious diet and by staying physically active.

If a nursing home can’t be avoided, make sure to choose a quality facility with trustworthy workers. And if, for any reason, you suspect that your nursing home is mistreating their patients, remember: there are plenty of advocacy groups out there that can equip you with the knowledge needed to recognize the signs of abuse and who can stick up for you in court.

The bottom line is that in order to have the best outcome when aging is to start taking care of your health right now. The healthier you are, the less likely you are to develop physical issues that may limit your mobility. Unfortunately, mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia don’t have many means of prevention, but staying active and eating healthy may help prolong onset.

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