What is aging in place?

Many seniors want to stay independent at home for a long as possible

Everyone ages and most hope to be self-sufficient enough in their later years to remain at home. This near-universal desire is where the term “aging in place” comes from.

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The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ National Institute on Aging has a five-part guide for retirees who are preparing for the next stage of their life and it includes having a plan, looking into support options and resources, addressing concerns and getting finances in order.

For planning, the NIA recommends being honest with yourself and making a list about the health condition of yourself and potentially your spouse. If assistance is necessary for maintaining your health or even daily tasks, the NIA says you will need to consult a doctor and determine if services will be needed in the near future.

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Some services an older adult may need could be in personal care, household chores, meal preparation and scheduling as well as money and medicine management, all of which could be coordinated with help from a family member or paid aide. Local and state government offices provide resources and services for senior care depending on household income. However, the NIA suggests people who want to age in place have a contingency plan for medical emergencies, whether it be with a medical alert device or have a medical power of attorney in place.

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When it comes down to common concerns about aging in place, an individual may need to figure out how they will get around inside and outside their home, how they will maintain friendships and hobbies in addition to securing safety and housing.

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Resources to look into before you commit to aging in place start with your social circle, which includes family and friends. Going this route helps you find assistance among people who already care for you. If that is not a possibility, there are specially trained geriatric care managers who may be able to help. Federal government programs such as the Administration for Community Living and LongTermCare.gov are available as well for seniors navigating the aging in place process.

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In terms of money, aging in place doesn’t have to be expensive. If you are in good health and have both a permanent home and savings, very little if at all anything needs to change in your life. However, if you have challenging health conditions or physical barriers that require assistance from a third party, you may need to pay up.

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Medicare could be necessary for some circumstances. The NIA recommends seniors look through insurance providers to find what fits their situation best. Benefits.gov and BenefitsCheckUp are two websites for checking coverage qualifications.