I’ve met many older adults who want to age in place, but for many individuals it is difficult to stay in their homes. In the best situations, either the elder or a family member is able to monitor the situation, assuring that everything is in order and making changes as necessary. Designing and carrying out realistic caregiving decisions comes easily for some older elders, as does the change that can come when there is a need for schedules to adjust or change,
But my experience is that many elders, for one reason or another cannot manage to stay in their homes or apartments. Below are the challenges that many adult children have shared with me.
- If memory loss or increased fragility is incremental a parent can be aware enough to resist having any caregivers coming into the home.
- When couples have been married a very long time, they are used to helping one another, despite increasing decline, and they are sure that they can continue assisting one another with no need for a caregiver.
- For an older elder with memory issues, discovering a person in the home in the middle of the night is confusing — even if that individual is a well-known helper.
- To age in place an individual must be able to notice when a caregiver does not arrive and then be able to report the situation to the correct place.
- If home health providers need to schedule different caregivers, especially early on, it can be difficult for an elder to build relationships with so many different people.
Any combination of these challenges may indicate that aging in place simply will not succeed, no matter how much an elderly parent hopes it will work.