Helping your parents adjust to their older years can be difficult, to say the lease. Between reading up on the Disabilities Act, navigating hearing loss and hearing aids, and meeting with audiologists, aging in place isn’t always the smoothest for many. You want your parents to maintain their quality of life but also balance needs so you’re trying to determine the best solution. To help your parents age in place, keep this in mind.
This may seem like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how often people realize their parents need a bit of extra assistance yet they’re not quite prepared. If your parents are set on growing older at home, it’s important to have a few things in place beforehand. Firstly, make sure they’re easy to contact. If they have an existing account with an email service, that’s a plus. Otherwise, help them set up an email address and make sure they have other methods of contacting you, such as via phone call. Determine what their living arrangement will look like in the event of a disability. Equip them with disability accessories that help maintain mobility and independence as well.
Think about the house.
Is your house well-equipped for older parents who have a disability or other mobility issues? Is their home intuitive to navigate? Are there ramps in place or do you need to do a few key renovations? This can be as simple or as complex as you make it. For example, if you live in the county of Bergen, New Jersey, it may be as easy as Googling “ADA contractors New Jersey” and getting a quote. Always choose contractors with several years experience in the field so you know that they’re capable of reformatting a home to accommodate seniors.
Be preemptive about hearing loss.
Better hearing and aging in place don’t always go hand-in-hand. If you’ve noticed your parents are a bit harder of hearing, having issues with their ear canals, or are experiencing tinnitus, you may want to find a doctor of audiology. Hearing health is important for seniors who want to age in place. Depending on the type of hearing loss, professional hearing services may be the way to go.
Hearing services can help your parents maintain better hearing which means they’ll be able to retain their independence more capably. Keep in mind that some hearing services are more worth the investment than others. Ask for referrals from your parents’ existing primary care providers or contact any friends or colleagues who also have parents that are trying to age in place.
Consider public accommodations.
Even if your parents are still spry and active, chances are they shouldn’t always be behind the wheel of a car. This is further compounded if one or both of them has a disability. Finding suitable public accommodations, such as a handicap-accessible bus service, can make all the difference in their mobility and give them a sense of freedom to go out and about on their own terms. Don’t forget that many accessible bus systems run on alternate schedules from traditional public transit so if you need to print out a schedule or email one to your parents, now’s the time.
More likely than not, your parents have an existing account with a financial institution. However, they may still need some additional help when it comes to finances. Often, you’ll be able to contact their financial institution and request your own username or email address login to review their finances, sign for their purchases, or help manage their funds. Have this discussion early because nobody wants to get in a petty fight about money.
Aging in place comes with its own set of challenges but if you’re willing to help your parents out, they’re already ahead of the curve. Have important discussions sooner than later and formulate a plan. It’ll translate to a smoother transition down the road.