As your parent or loved one ages, there are good reasons for choosing to continue to live in the place he or she now calls home. Staying in their own home means staying where their roots are. As they grow older, living on their own can present a series of different challenges including keeping up with basic housework and personal care. Sometimes, after an illness or injury, they may require medical care on a short or long term basis.
As you talk with your parent or loved one about his or her options for staying at home, be sure to ask what their needs are. Begin by working together to answer this question by downloading a PDF copy of Needs Assessment for Living on Your Own.*
There are a variety of programs for older adults available that supports the option of staying in the community of their choice. Programs specifics vary from one community to the next; however, most provide a range of possible services including information and referral, care management assistance for living at home, adult day services, transportation, and nutrition and other healthy living programs.
In order to make the best use of the available services, both of you and your parent or loved one must be willing to honestly and carefully understand your needs and be willing to accept help. Are there ways in which your parent or loved one could use some help? If so, what tasks or activities? Questions like these seem straight forward enough. However, sometimes it is difficult to step back and ask, “what aspects of independent living are going smoothly?" and “where could he or she use some outside assistance?”
These questions and more can be addressed by conducting a needs assessment. A “needs assessment” is a professional term for sitting down and listing the ordinary tasks and responsibilities that go into living independently. Examples are buying the groceries, making sure the lawn gets mowed in the summer and the sidewalk gets cleared in the winter, doing laundry, and getting to doctor’s appointments.
If you're looking for support about caring for a loved one at home, please reach out to your local Easterseals.