It’s no secret that aged care facilities have been one of the hardest hit with the COVID-19 outbreak. In fact, recent reports have suggested that the occupancy levels of aged care facilities this financial year is expected to face a “record drop”, with some residents leaving facilities and potential residents hesitant to move in amid concerns for their safety.
This concern that seniors have for their health and welfare when in an aged care facility is warranted, with the nurses union accusing the government of “mishandling the spread of COVID-19 in aged care”.
But, residential aged care isn’t the only option. In light of these recent events, Ageing in Place has presented itself as a safer and more cost-effective aged care solution for seniors to live out their retirement and still get the care they require.
But what exactly is Ageing in Place?
Ageing in Place is a form of independent aged care that allows seniors to remain in their own home safely and comfortably. For those with relatively strong physical and cognitive health, ageing in place is the preferred option when considering how to manage changing requirements as you age.
It may involve home visits from carers or medical professionals, specialist equipment or changes to the built environment in your home. In order to do this, you and/or your occupational therapist requests the help of home modification services to modify your home in order to make it safer and more accessible. This could include installing a wheelchair accessible ramp, custom made banister rails or renovating the bathroom.
What are the benefits of Ageing in Place?
1. Safer Environment than Aged Care Facilities
In 2019, The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety released preliminary findings into the Australian aged system stating that: “The neglect that we have found in this Royal Commission, to date, is far from the best that can be done. Rather, it is a sad and shocking system that diminishes Australia as a nation.”
Overall, the report revealed that the Australian aged care system simply “fails to meet the needs of our elders” and “does not deliver uniformly safe and quality care for older people.”
By modifying your home and continuing to reside in it as you age, you can rest assured that you’ll remain in a safe, healthy and comfortable home.
2. You get to stay in your home
The last think you want to do is leave the house you’ve made a home. In fact, living in the home you’ve always known and loved as you age has been proven to have significant benefits on your mental and emotional wellbeing.
This is because the innate emotional attachment you have to your home provides a sense of security and familiarity that can improve your overall quality of life.
So, as long as your home is safe and accessible to you as you age, you won’t have to abandon your family home.
3. Allows you Remain in your Community
Ageing in place means you can continue to grow and nurture the social network and sense of community you’ve developed over the years. According to a number of studies, your community and the way you interact with them is closely related to improvements in your overall quality of life.
By remaining socially active in your familiar environment, you may also experience improvements to your emotional and physical health and cognitive function.
4. Encourages Independence
Ageing in place allows you to maintain a higher level of independence for a longer period of time than you would in an aged care facility.
Not only does encouraging independence have significant benefits on your mental health by giving you a sense of purpose, but doing so also aids in memory retention and improvements in your physical strength and cognitive function.
So long as you continue to modify your home to accommodate for your changing needs, ageing in place can be the ideal alternative to residential aged care. Though, it’s always important to do some more research before you make a decision to ensure it is right for you.
Want to kickstart your Age in Place plan? Our team at ELC Home Modifications can conduct a free home assessment to suggest the home modifications you may need to facilitate your current or future needs.