When American adults get old, where do they go? The common belief is they stay in assisted-living facilities, retirement communities, or nursing homes.
Some do, but many don’t. Instead, they prefer to live in their property or their community, a phenomenon called “aging in place.” According to a 2018 survey by AARP, 75% of men and women 50 years old and above didn’t want to go anywhere else. Of these, 46% would stay in their current home.
Why would they move anyway? These individuals might have already built a strong relationship with their neighbors. They are more familiar with their environment, and their home might already be mortgage-free. They’d rather spend their money on travel or business than on other services or facilities.
However, aging in place isn’t all happy days for everyone. For many, it comes with many challenges, which also increases the need for a more specialized healthcare service, like a home healthcare franchise.
What Are the Problems of Aging in Place?
Here are some of the common challenges people who age in place face:
1. Increased Risk of Depression
Many studies reveal an intimate association between aging and depression. In one of the surveys, over 60% of the baby boomers experienced or had been diagnosed with mental health problems.
Depression happens for many reasons. One is isolation. Many of these older adults might be living alone, having been widowed. Others might not have close family members nearby. Some struggle with mobility, which prevents them from participating in social activities.
The National Institute of Mental Health, though, said that depression isn’t a normal part of aging. It also raises the odds of suicide or other mental health problems, such as generalized anxiety disorder.
The inability to move more efficiently or quickly remains one of the common disabilities among older Americans. One reason is aging.
As the body becomes older, it goes through many changes. It might lose both mass or muscle strength, which affects both gait and speed. Others begin to have blurry vision or poorer eyesight.
Aging also increases the risks of falls and fractures, which can be deadly. About 20% of seniors with hip fractures eventually die. Operational costs can also be expensive.
These health issues can also prevent otherwise-healthy individuals from going out or engaging in physical activity like exercise. Sadly, these will only worsen the risk of muscle wasting.
3. Multiple Medications
Aging is a risk factor for many chronic diseases, such as heart disorders, hypertension, and diabetes. Some of these are interrelated, which explains why many older adults consume two or more medications.
Unfortunately, 55% are noncompliant, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Factors like isolation and memory loss can worsen non-compliance.
How Home Healthcare Helps
Regular prompt healthcare for a vulnerable population can reduce the incidence of hospital admission and even disease complications. This is where home healthcare can be helpful.
With one, a business or franchise owner can:
- Provide companionship to help reduce the feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression
- Extend physical and occupational therapy support to improve mobility or retain as much functionality as possible
- Track health and wellness and offer reminders for medications to boost compliance
Running home healthcare doesn’t need to intervene in an older adult’s sense of independence. It rather gives extra support so they can continue to enjoy a quality of life.