The Importance of Older Life in a Healthy Aging Plan – Forbes Health

Old age is the greatest risk factor for contracting terminal illnesses and disabilities, which is why it is so important to develop a healthy and smart aging plan in advance that prepares and supports loved ones for benefit from the best care and a family environment when unexpected and serious health problems may arise. arise. By doing so, you can help them maintain a valuable sense of control over their lives.

A healthy aging plan helps ensure a person’s ability to age safely and comfortably in an appropriate environment, particularly as their needs change over time, which may include medical and physical care, opportunities conscious and social, engaging activities and a price adapted to its budget. It is important to develop this plan early and before there is an urgent need to find assisted living care. Family members, caregivers, and other responsible parties should take the time to plan for the future with their loved one, specifically engaging them in creating the plan.

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Consider personal wishes

First things first: does your loved one want to move into any kind of retirement home? If not, try not to force the issue, even though it’s probably in their best interest. To preserve the sanity and autonomy of the aging person, the decision should ultimately be theirs. “If your loved ones are mentally competent, they have the right to make mistakes,” says Dr. Quaning. “There’s not much you can do.”

If your loved one is open to the idea of ​​a seniors’ residence, plan visits to several facilities. “When considering moving into a retirement home, most people are looking for a place to call home,” says Elliott. “[On these tours]engage with people who already live in the communities to have a sense of good neighborliness with residents, and engage with care staff to gain a full understanding of the supportive care offered.

List of health problems

The challenges of aging tend to get worse over time, so it’s important to choose a setting where your loved one believes they can live well as those needs change. If your loved one is relatively healthy, a 55+ community may be fine for a while. However, if they already have a complex medical condition, a nursing home may be a more appropriate choice.

Assess physical abilities

If your loved one is still able to manage activities of daily living, such as feeding and going to the bathroom on their own, but needs support in other areas such as taking medication as directed, housework or meal preparation, a supported living environment is probably the best fit. Their next housing option should be equipped to meet their current needs, as well as the likely next progression of their needs.

Plan ahead

As mentioned earlier, a healthy aging plan starts early. “If your loved one is independent and healthy in old age, they’ve probably chosen a certain lifestyle that puts them in a position to continue to be healthy,” says Dr. Quaning. Encourage them to maintain these behaviors in their later years, as well as to adopt new ones that motivate them and promote well-being.

When considering including a seniors’ residence in your healthy aging plan, be sure to assess your finances as well. Room and board in these comprehensive care facilities are rarely covered by insurance (including Medicare), and only long-term nursing home care is covered by Medicaid for people who cannot otherwise afford it. Most seniors have to dip into their savings to pay for the costs associated with assisted living.

If your loved one is still working and generally healthy, consider discussing the benefits of long-term care insurance with them so they can enjoy even more senior living options later in life. . “My wife and I are in our early 50s and have already started paying for long-term care insurance because we see what is happening with our patients,” says Dr. Quaning.

Ultimately, it’s never too late to prepare a healthy aging plan. And the earlier you start, the better your quality of life will be when you need home care.

(Note: All prices are correct at the time of publication and are subject to change.)

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