As uncertainty around the pandemic continues in Texas, staying safe in your home, particularly for seniors, has become even more important. According to a 2018 AARP survey, 77% of adults age 50 and older want to remain in their homes as they age, but fewer than 6 in 10 think that option will be open to them. 1 Chronic diseases such as diabetes, COPD and heart disease can lead to a loss of independence and result in the need for institutional care or other long-term services and supports, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 2
The concept of “aging in place” requires planning and coordination of your health care, including making plans for preventive care with your health care provider, whether it’s in their office or through telemedicine.
Chronic diseases such as diabetes, COPD and heart disease can lead to a loss of independence and result in the need for institutional care or other long-term services and support. Urinary incontinence is also a condition that can be managed but can frequently become a reason for people and their families to feel someone can no longer remain at home. Rushing to the bathroom can lead to falls which can be life-changing events. The overwhelming majority of older Americans want to remain in their home as they age. There are key steps you can take to help you stay at home longer.
Preventive care is critical. The concept of “aging in place” requires planning and coordination of your health care, including making plans for preventive care with your health care provider, whether it’s in their office or through telemedicine. This includes regular checks-ups, taking tests as needed and working closely with a team to help manage chronic conditions like those we mentioned. Your providers need to be willing to spend time with you and speak with one another to have the best plan going forward. Additionally, you’ll want to keep up with your vaccinations, including those for COVID-19.
One of the most important things is to communicate that, like most people, you want to stay at home as long as possible. You’ll want to talk about the resources you have available to support you in your home environment in addition to your medical needs. It takes a team to keep you healthy. We recommend asking your primary care physician how they are coordinating your care with other specialists and others in the practice. If they can’t answer that easily, it’s a problem. Also, before any visits, write down all of the questions that you might have so you don’t forget. Make sure the doctors give you the time to ask the questions you have and answer patiently.
Medicare uses these questions to rate the quality of service you receive. How does your mental and physical health compare to one year ago? Has your doctor suggested you increase physical activity and are you doing so? Are you managing urinary incontinence issues? Is your doctor helping you to prevent falls? These are questions you should be asking yourself as well as your doctor to make sure you receive the best care.
1 – aarp.org/research/topics/community/info-2018/2018-home-communitypreference.html (Opens in new window)
2 – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The State of Aging and Health in America 2013. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2013
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