Aging in place can offer you comfort, independence, safety, and access to friends and family. If you choose to stay in your home as you age, it helps to plan for the future.
Given a choice, would you like to live in your own home as you grow older? Aging in place is when you keep on living where you are, rather than moving in with friends or family, or into a care facility. If aging in place is what you want, it’s important to plan for it. Taking a few key steps to age in place can help you stay safe, healthy, and happy as you grow older.
Make changes to your home
The first step to safely aging in place is to prepare your home. A few small changes can be a huge help as you age. You might want to add grab bars to bathrooms and showers. You may need to put in nonslip flooring, install brighter lighting, or move furniture.
You may need to make more extensive changes, too. For wheelchair access, you may need to put in ramps outside your home. Or you may need to widen hallways and walkways.
Get help with everyday tasks
Just because you’re staying in your home may not mean that you need to take care of it by yourself. Technology and in-home services have made aging in place more convenient. Meal delivery, ride share, and in-home caregiving can be of help to you at home. Housekeeping and gardening services can also help.
Talk with your doctor
One more way to get ready to age in place is to talk with your doctor. Ask about future changes you might expect in your health given any conditions you have. Also, talk about what general changes in mobility are common with age. Such changes may make daily tasks harder to do, so planning ahead can help. Ask your doctor, as well, about habits you can form now to help keep up your strength, mobility, and health for as long as you can.
Take care of money matters
Staying at home may save you money in the long run, compared to the cost of a care facility. But keep in mind that hiring in-home services can add up. So, it may be helpful to plan a budget. A budget will let you know if you can cover the costs of services you may want to use. These might be housekeeping, meal delivery, or ride share services.
Also, check with your health plan and Medicare benefits to see if they cover part or all the costs of in-home nursing or caregiving, including hospice. You may need these types of help in the future.
Line up in-home caregiving if needed
Caregiving can be a great help to those who want to stay at home as they age. So, talk with your doctor about what types of care you may need. A caregiver can:
- Help you stay on track with taking your medicines
- Help you with bathing and dressing or other activities of daily living
- Offer companionship and someone to take you to visit friends or family
- Act as a go-between with your health care provider and health insurance
- Offer skilled nursing care should changes in your health call for it
- Offer hospice or end-of-life care for you or your spouse at home
A caregiver can work on a full-time or part-time basis as needed. Talk with your doctor, a trusted advisor, or family member to see if a caregiver is right for you.
Aging in place can offer you comfort, safety, and access to friends and family. If you choose to stay in your home, it helps to plan for the future. Doing so can help make your aging in place journey a joyful and meaningful time in your life.
This information is not intended to take the place of regular medical care or advice. Please check with your doctor before using this information or beginning any self-care program.
AARP (2018). Aging in place made easier. https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/home-care/info-2018/technology-helps-aging-at-home.html
AginginPlace.org (2019). Caregiver responsibilities list: Caring for my parents. https://www.aginginplace.org/caregiver-responsibilities-list-caring-for-my-parents/
Aginginplace.org (2019). Comfort living: What it is okay to age at home. https://www.aginginplace.org/comfort-living-why-it-is-okay-to-age-at-home/
National Institute on Aging (2017). Aging in place: Growing older at home. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/aging-place-growing-older-home
Seniorliving.org (n.d.). Aging in place—what does aging in place really mean? https://www.seniorliving.org/aging-in-place/
This article was written by Sharon Odegaard; edited by Candace Hodges; and clinically reviewed
by Elizabeth Thompson, MPH, RDN.