Aging in Place Guide: Are Your Parents Able to Live at Home?

Do you assist an aging adult who wants to stay in their own home? As an adult child, you want the peace of mind to know that your parents aren't going to fall, get burned, have a car accident, forget to take their medications, or become a victim of a scam or violence. Here are the 10 factors to consider while determining if your loved one can safely age in place. Use this list as your guide to ask yourself -- and your senior important decisive questions.

1.   Home Conditions. Is their home safe? Have the repairs been kept up? Do the heating and air conditioning work properly? Are the floors even, and is there adequate lighting? Are there any leaks, cracks, or other major structural issues?

2.   Cognitive Functioning. Can your parents continue to make sound decisions? Are they able to discern if someone who calls on the phone or comes to the house is trying to scam them? Do they remember basic safety practices when walking to their car, doing their banking, hiring home repair people or listening to a telemarketer on the phone?

3.   Home Layout. Do they have to navigate stairs inside or outside the home? Is that a problem, or do you foresee it being a problem in the future? Are their bedrooms on a floor other than the main floor of the house?

4.   Driving. Do your parents still drive, or is there reliable and convenient transportation available to them? How much longer do you see them being able to drive themselves? Do you have a plan if the time comes to put away the keys? Have you talked about it? Read our Driving and the Elderly article about ways to start that for tips about how to start that difficult conversation with your parents.

5.   Meals/Housekeeping. Do your parents still cook or have ways to get nutritious meals? Do your parents need help with cleaning, daily activities, shopping or cooking? Is there a clutter issue that could become a safety hazard? Read our Eat Healthy article to find recipes for healthy meals!

6.   Fall Hazards. Are your parents at a high risk for falls? Do they tend to get dizzy, shuffle, walk with a cane, or use a wheelchair?

7.   Bathing. Do they take showers or baths without trouble, and can they manage the hot water settings? Have they had any falls in the bathroom?

8.   Emergency Communication. Can your parents call for help? Do they use a monitoring system of some kind? Do they use cell phones or computers? Can you stay in touch with them throughout the day? Do they have neighbors who can check on them? Our Emergency Checklist for Seniors and Their Caregivers will help you have all the information you need handy.

9.   Dementia Concerns. Are there memory issues? Do they remember to take their medications? Do you see problems with anxiety or paranoia? Do they wander, become confused, or make excuses? Does normal aging forgetfulness seem to be increasing over the last few weeks or months?

10.   Evacuation Plan. What's the plan if there's a natural disaster such as a fire, flood, or ice storm? Do they have a way to evacuate? Can you or someone else get to them quickly?

It's possible for older loved ones to still enjoy living at home, even if they need a little extra help with daily activities or household chores. Many aging adults surround themselves with unpaid care and support given by family members, friends, neighbors, and other volunteers. Others find that hired caregivers, scheduled to assist several times a week, or even to live-in, is best for their situation. Find senior care aides to help your loved one safely stay at home.

>> Ten Warning Signs your Parents Need Outside Help

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>> Review the Senior Care Index for all senior care options.

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