We all want to live an active life in our own home for our final years. Unfortunately many seniors fall short of that goal. We see seniors staring alone in their wheelchair in the lobby of a nursing home. Families share stories of homecare challenges and seniors lament a loss of dignity. Caregivers dread receiving a call at work from an aging loved one: “I have fallen and I can’t get up”. At WEL we see the benefits of aging successfully and the challenges when a senior’s care crisis is neither avoided nor managed. Families can benefit from expert advocacy and coordination across healthcare and homecare. We asked the experts at My Healthcare Concierge (MHC) to provide advice.
So what are their keys to successful aging?
MHC advises seniors to remain active, have a purpose, enjoy meaningful relationships and accept help for themselves and their family caregivers. Human nature and traditional homecare often leads to seniors becoming inactive rather than finding new ways to remain engaged. Society’s first instinct when loved ones lose some of their function is to help them do less. MHC suggests rehabilitation to extend our capabilities, find new ways to do what we want to do, and find relevant activities to replace old activities.
MHC Key Principles for Successful Aging:
Start Moving and Eating Well Today:
Maintaining muscle strength, balance and flexibility and eating real food will always benefit. If you are starting to be active after a long period of inactivity, consult your doctor and use a personal trainer or a physiotherapist.
Stay Busy and Social:
Having activities that provide you stimulation and enjoyment is critical. This could be spending time with the grandkids, golfing, or volunteering. For those who love their vocation, working part time can be a part of successful aging. Activities need to be both enjoyable and meaningful and evolve as you age.
Create Regular Routines:
Eating well, staying active and being social may seem basic but many of us struggle. Creating a regular routine around good habits and activities increases your odds of success. Joining a group with similar interests can make it easier.
Have a Plan and Discuss with your Family:
Don’t wait until a crisis occurs. Many people end up in an undesirable situation or create a burden for their loved ones due to a lack of communication and planning. Have open conversations with your family about housing options, finances, power of attorney and what to do in case of a medical event or loss of function. By sharing information and your wishes you can minimize the stress of an age related crisis. Your plan should also include positive goals such as travel, new hobbies or volunteering and include a proactive roadmap for housing transitions to simplify and enjoy living before a crisis complicates choices.
Advocate and Coordinate:
The world of healthcare and homecare is complex, especially across both public and private options. It is critical to ask questions and advocate for yourself. Whether you do it yourself, or hire a professional it is important to understand your options, your rights, and the best path for your needs. When serious obstacles arise like dementia, cancer or Parkinsons, special resources should be leveraged.
Maintaining Independence by Accepting Help:
Most of us want to live at home, and yet remaining independent eventually means accepting help. Making modifications and adding equipment to your home could prevent a serious fall. Accepting paid care, as long as you maintain an active routine, may extend your ability to remain at home. Accept help, but ensure it supports independence and includes rehabilitation expertise.
My Healthcare Concierge (MHC) helps seniors and their families improve health, solve care challenges and enhance quality of life. They ensure seniors get the right care, at the right time, and in the right place by providing homecare coordination, healthcare navigation, advocacy and restorative health treatment services. MHC combines the expertise of a physician medical director, top community based Occupational Therapists and other professionals. Clients of Whaley Estate Litigation can call MHC for a free phone consultation to discuss any seniors care or health system navigation question or concern.
CEO, My Healthcare Concierge
Dr Kim Panovka
Medical Director, My Healthcare Concierge