Reno Gazette-Journal Sunday, March 8, 2020
Is staying in the family home as long as possible the only measure of independence for senior adults?
While most older adults may want to stay in the home they hold so near and dear, does a late-life move really mean they are less independent?
What are other measures of independence besides “aging in place”? And, when does the independent choice become one that recognizes the need to seek assistance outside the home?
At its most basic level, independence means having full autonomy over one’s own life. While the challenges posed by the aging process can challenge this definition, especially when it is clear that assistance is needed to perform daily tasks, with a proactive approach to aging, a high degree of independence is possible for most people
“If you pride yourself on being independent and making your own life choices, you won’t want to miss ‘The Truth about Staying Independent’ panel discussion scheduled for this month,” said seminar co-host Brett Junell.
Seminar panelists will include experts answering questions about in-home care, health and safety issues, solutions for mobility and self reliance, options for independent and assisted living communities, as well as legal aspects related to reduced independence. Seminar participants will be offered a free follow-up Legal Counsel Day with an attorney.
Expert panelists will answer questions like these and more:
– What happens if I can no longer manage on my own?
– Who is available to help me?
– Are my kids or other family members the best choice?
– What are the most important considerations in order to maintain my independence as I age?
A person’s desire to remain independent is not always reflected in their capabilities, and this conflict can become increasingly pronounced as time goes by. Some tips from experts:
– A key element to help maintain independence is to start planning as soon as possible. This may involve meeting with trusted professionals, including lawyers, financial planners and health care professionals, to project what will be needed to remain independent.
– Looking ahead now will help reduce the stress and anxiety of having to make big changes at a later time. Communicating your desires to family members is essential.
– Accept changes in your life is also key to staying as independent as possible. You may need to adapt your activities and interests due to physical changes or because of the use of medications.
– Often, remaining independent involves making slight modifications, enhancements or the addition of services for home modifications, and or help in and around the home.
– Another area to explore is the growing use of technology. Technology is increasingly playing an instrumental role in helping individuals remain independent at home. Technology can be used to monitor vital signs, remind you to take your medications and to notify family members if you fall.
“One fall can be a life changing experience,” said Diane Ross from Continuum, a community-based program promoting independence for senior adults. “Because the MOD Squad safety installation professionals consult regularly with therapists and staff at The Continuum, home safety solutions are specifically designed to suit the individual needs of every client.”
Annette Junell, rightsizing coach and seminar co-host, said it is important to plan in advance for what will be the right place to age, whether it’s your current home or somewhere else. For many, growing old in the family home can mean dealing with a big empty house, home maintenance, changing neighborhoods, loss of social connections and more.
“The phrase ‘age in place’ originated in social service and academic circles,” she said. “While various studies conclude that people generally want to ‘stay put’ for the rest of their lives, these surveys often lack qualifiers for a ‘staying put’ rationale. They rarely give alternative living options and almost never define what aging in place actually means.”
Despite the increasing numbers of new communities, a stigma still exists around retirement living. For many people, the words “senior living community” evoke visions of sterile, clinical facilities or loss of independence. Yet, this image no longer represents modern senior living.
From 55+ active adult and independent living apartments to continuing care communities, from in-home services to personalized care, retirement lifestyles have evolved.
“We are all about people keeping their independence in a resort like community while providing countless opportunities to learn and grow. Our community is all about resident wellness, keeping connected, engaged and curious,” said Barbara Seiler of Revel Rancharrah, the newest local independent living community in Reno.
“There are plenty of people right now who are electing to downsize voluntarily, moving out of their big homes, and into senior communities,” Annette said. “People in this category are generally healthy, active, and financially capable of making this choice for themselves. Some want convenience, and some want social connections.”
For those interested in learning more about staying independent, register for the upcoming Retired Living Truth Series program: “The Truth about Staying Independent” seminar to be held on March 16 from 10-11:30 a.m. at the RSAR Building at 5650 Riggins Court, Reno (near Meadowood Mall).
The seminar is free for seniors and their guests. Pre-registration is required because seating is limited.
Seat reservations can be made online
at www.RetiredLivingTruthSeries.com or by calling (775) 432-6398.
This article is sponsored by Annette & Brett Junell in conjunction with the above sponsors.