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"Ageing in Place: How Long Can You Safely Stay in Your Current Home?"

Consider if you can age-in-place, from an unexpected expert in care at home.


Many homes are not suited for their aging occupants to live in comfortably.


Ageing-in-place can be achieved, however do you want to stay, or move while you are well?

Elderly  people considering their long term living options
Woman outside a traditional home

An elderly woman outside a traditional home


As part of my work with many different clients, I have been inside well over 100 dwellings of every description and price range. Many are family size homes with only 1 or 2 people.

 

Most Australians want to age in place

Around 75-80% of those over 55 years want to stay at home according to the Australian Housing and Urban Research Centre.


Although I agree with the research and homes can certainly be modified, this is something that should be carefully considered while you are fit and well. There are many different aspects to think about, based upon your preferred lifestyle. Medium and long term options can be discussed and planned for.



Adapting to living with an injury, illness or progressive aging


Many young and older people are living a fulfilling independent life with disabilities.

An example I come across quite often is mid-life singles who find themselves no longer able to do many of their usual activities of daily life after a life changing event such as a stroke, complications of MS or other conditions. This sometimes means no longer being able to drive a car, walk without an aid, or return to their former work. Some have limited use of some parts of their body, managing steps can be almost impossible. Many people install rails, ramps and modify their homes to suit their new needs. Some opt to move to better suited accommodation, some have no choice at all in an emergency, so others select for them, without full understanding of long term needs.



Supported age care at home
Assistance to live at home with support from carers

Finding a new rental or permanent home can be challenging

Looking through online listings for properties that are suitable for people with mobility challenges is harder than you think. I have helped frustrated clients find accommodation for holidays and for residency. When checking online, it is best to call the provider as pictures may not show steps or the type of shower, and may not be wheelchair or walker accessible.


Managing stairs as we age
Man walking outside down stairs


Are you social or do you prefer solitude?

In recent years there have been many new over 50's lifestyle villages gaining popularity. These are specifically designed for seniors, units and some are modern apartments. I have visited many of these lifestyle living options, they seem great for those who want to stay active and soclialise with others when they choose to. A lovely place in Carlton offers an extensive range of activities, classes and social opportunities. During and after the pandemic, when comparing those living alone and those in retirement style dwellings, I can say those living in communities seemed much happier.



Living options in retirement and long term aging
A man thinking while leaning on walking stick


If you begin to struggle to do things on your own at home, many people engage carers and bring specialist therapists to their homes. This may include help with things like shopping, gardening, cooking, exercise, going out to events and all the usual things. Some have physios, nurses, carers and counsellors like me to visit. Each visit can also provide much needed conversation and company.


 

Written by Ann Cox, Carer consultant and registered counsellor. Experienced in age care and NDIS support as well as an end-of-life doula - discussions and future planning.




References:

The Conversation Stay or Go? (2023) Most Australians want to retire where they are


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