Quality of Life: Aging in Place

“Live your life from your heart. Share from your heart. And your story will touch and heal people’s souls.” – Melody Beattie

What is aging in place?

Aging in place is a term used to describe a person living in the residence of their choice, for as long as they are able, as they age. This includes being able to have any services (or other support) they might need over time as their needs change.

Why is Aging in Place Important?

Currently, the majority of senior persons aged 65 and older are living either with a spouse or alone in their own homes. Many of these elderly people struggle with everyday tasks, their health care, and the lives they lead in their homes. For many, their quality of life goes down as they get older.

Making these choices gives you control over your independence, quality of life, and dignity. Most importantly to note, aging in place does not mean you have to do everything yourself; that’s where the plan comes in. It means you get to plan how your needs are met, who meets them, and when.

ADLs – Activities of Daily Life

Quality of life, and the ability to Age in Place, are all connected to the ability to properly maintain ADLs. There is no reason anyone should be fearful about not being able to maintain their activities of daily life as these can be supported by family or professional caregivers.

Very Well Health defines ADLs as the following:

One standard for defining the areas of Activities of Daily Living is the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework, which defines ADLs as “activities that are oriented toward taking care of your own body.” The activities are broken down into nine areas.

  • Bathing/showering
  • Toileting and toilet hygiene
  • Dressing
  • Eating/swallowing
  • Feeding (the setting up, arranging and bringing food to the mouth)
  • Functional mobility (the ability to get from place to place while performing ADLs, either under one’s own power or with the assistance of a wheelchair or other assistive device)
  • Personal device care (utilizing essential personal care items such as hearing aids, contact lenses, glasses, orthotics, walker, etc.)
  • Personal hygiene and grooming
  • Sexual activity

For families who simply wish to have a scale by which to judge the ability of their loved one to function independently, there are multiple online geriatric assessment tools. Many of these are intended for use by untrained professionals and are easy to complete. A family member answers a series of questions about their loved one who requires assistance, tallies up a point total, and compares their results to other individuals.

Take the time to support the seniors in your life, support them, share with them and their stories will touch your soul.

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