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Considering the medical needs of a family member before aging in place

It is important for family members to consider the medical needs of an older adult who wishes to age in their home to ensure safety and wellbeing.

Aging in place can be a viable option for older adults who want to remain in their homes. However, family members must consider the medical needs of the older adult and plan for future health issues.

As people age, many of them would prefer to remain in their Louisville area homes for as long as possible. Aging in place, as this is called, allows older adults to stay in a familiar and comfortable environment and maintain a sense of independence.

Understanding Current Medical Needs

The first step towards understanding an older adult's medical needs that need to be considered when aging in place is to assess the adult's current health status. This analysis should be completed by a Louisville healthcare professional and should include a review of any chronic medical conditions, past and current medications taken, and functional abilities. The provider can also perform a fall risk assessment (using a simple tool like the Morse Fall Scale) and provide recommendations for any necessary modifications to the home environment.

Planning for Future Medical Needs

As people age, their medical needs often become more complex. Family members should plan for future medical needs by considering potential health issues and planning for how to manage them. The planning process can include establishing a healthcare proxy. A healthcare proxy is a document that names a person to act as another person's "proxy" or "agent". While most people think of a proxy as only being called upon when a person cannot communicate or becomes incapacitated, proxies can actually serve as an advocate and facilitator throughout the aging process. The older adult should appoint a proxy that they trust and who will honor their wishes. The proxy should be aware of the grantor's personal attitudes toward health, illness, death, and dying as well as medical treatment options like palliative care, artificial hydration/nutrition), and resuscitation.

It is important for families to involve older adults in all aspects of these planning discussions and activities to ensure that their wishes are respected. Family members should also explore community resources and support services that may be available to older adults in the Louisville area. These resources can include transportation services, meal deliveries, and social programs that can help older adults stay connected with their community.

Things to Keep in Mind

Aging in place can be a viable option for older adults who want to remain in their local communities. Planning for future health considerations is important in order to make this option successful and safe in the long run. By working in advance with healthcare professionals and exploring community resources, people can help their older adult family members stay safe and secure.

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