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team to age at home. a group of older adults and younger adults stand in a line with their arms around one another in a supportive gesture

Live Wisely - June 24, 2024

Build Your Team to Age at Home

By Amanda Ranowsky

When it comes to getting the care and support you need as you grow older, suppose you didn’t have to make the choice between staying in your own home or moving to an assisted living or nursing care community? You can continue to enjoy the comforts of home by building a plan to age in place, and a team to help manage that plan.

Research shows that 77% of older adults want to stay in their own home as they age. With continuing care at home (CCAH) programs like Goodwin Living At Home, those older adults can be sure they have the support they need to thrive as they age at home.

Thriving as you age takes two pillars: having the financial resources to pay for the care you might need and having a team to support you. Within a senior living community (specifically a life plan community), you have these two pillars covered: you have a financial contract that addresses the costs of care, and you have the people and resources you need readily available to you.

When choosing to age at home, you need to think through these needs to ensure you have the right care around you. Let’s take a look at the team you’ll need to build and manage to account for these needs if you want to age at home.

Managing Your Household

One of the key aspects of aging at home is making sure your home is a safe environment. That means you’ll need to know who you can call when your home needs repairs or renovations to support your aging in place goals. You might eventually need help with housekeeping or yard maintenance. Make a list of your go-to plumbers, electricians, housekeepers, gardeners and others who can help you maintain your home.

You’ll also want to think about the people who could look after your home when you’re not there. Identify neighbors, relatives or friends who can pick up your mail and keep an eye on you and your house.

While it’s important to prepare for these ongoing needs, you should also consider investing in home modifications that will make your home safer for you as you age. Updates such as grab bars in the shower, ramps and lever-style door handles or faucet knobs can go a long way to making your home safer and easier to navigate as you age.

Goodwin Living At Home provides free home safety assessments to new members. The complimentary services provides them with tailored recommendations for the home modifications they should make.

Managing Your Care

We often find that our health needs increasing attention with the increasing years, even when we keep ourselves in tip-top shape. Your care team is another critical element of aging in place.

Everyone needs a primary care physician to oversee their health. We also highly recommend that you designate someone – usually a family member or close friend – with your medical power of attorney. This empowers them to make medical decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself.

Another helpful member of this team would be a care coordinator. Care coordination is an invaluable resource for your age-in-place plan. When you need care, care coordinators line up the resources needed and make sure necessary information is shared with all care providers.

With GLAH, our Care Coordinators take the guesswork out of stressful situations such as hospital stays or new diagnoses. As a GLAH member facing a situation like this, you would receive support from our Care Coordination team as you decide on the care you want to receive. They would also help enact your wishes and keep all necessary parties informed. You wouldn’t have to worry about getting the care you need or burdening your loved ones with the responsibility of coordinating your care.

Managing Your Plan

Once you’ve identified your care team, it’s time to make a game plan.

Think about how you want to handle important care transitions, such as an unexpected change in health. Consider what resources you might need in those situations, and who on your team will be needed to step up to the plate.

Why go through all this planning? It’s simple: By setting up the framework for an ongoing plan, you help yourself and your loved ones. Your entire team will know just what to do if the time comes, and in doing so, will honor the wishes you put forward with your plan.

GLAH partners with you make this planning easier. Our Care Coordination Team will lead your care team, working with its various members to make sure everyone is on the same page and supporting your healthcare goals.

Managing Your Social Network

The last piece of the puzzle is your social network. We’re not talking about Facebook or other social media providers here. Your social network is your family and friends, and the people who you connect with throughout any given day.

Research shows that social engagement is good for your health. Strong social networks offer many benefits to older adults: decreasing the risk of cognitive decline, promoting physical activity and improving mental health.

Consider if you have a large enough circle of family and friends living nearby who can help you stay active and engaged. You might consider looking into groups that you can join to increase your social engagement.

Building a robust team and detailed plan is essential for successfully aging in place at your own home. By ensuring your home environment is safe, having a dedicated care team, organizing a clear plan for health transitions and maintaining a strong social network, you can enjoy the benefits of staying in your own home as you grow older.

Programs like Goodwin Living At Home provide valuable support such as care coordination and coverage, making the process smoother and less stressful. With the right resources and a committed team, you can confidently embrace the future and thrive as you age in the comfort of your own home.

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As Marketing & Communications Specialist, Amanda Ranowsky partners with colleagues throughout Goodwin Living to tell our stories and raise brand awareness. From printed collateral to digital marketing, Amanda covers many bases. Before joining GHI, Amanda worked for a small, family-owned business where she gained experience in content marketing. Amanda’s creative expression extends beyond the office. She is an active member of community theater and chorus groups.

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