Insights and Guidance for Older Adults and Their Families who Want to Stay at Home
Discover how to navigate the challenges and fears of ageing in place and enjoy a high quality of life at home.
At Olivet Care, we understand the unique challenges that come with ageing in the comfort of one’s own home, both for the older adults themselves and their family members. While ageing is a natural part of life, it can be accompanied by a range of fears and concerns. These can range from declining health and loss of independence, to financial insecurity and social isolation. While these fears can be daunting, it’s important to remember that they are a normal, and there are ways to manage and overcome them. Whether you’re an older adult yourself or you’re supporting a loved one through the ageing process, this article will provide valuable insights and guidance for navigating these challenges with grace and dignity.
The fear of changes in Health conditions
Whether it’s the onset of chronic conditions like arthritis, heart disease, or diabetes, or the fear of cognitive decline, changes in health conditions can be a daunting prospect. For older adults who have decided to age at home, declining health can be particularly challenging. However, there are a variety of resources available to help older adults manage this and maintain their independence, while also receiving the support they need.
One of the most important steps older adults can take is to prioritise their health and wellbeing. This includes staying physically active, eating a healthy diet, and staying engaged in social activities. Regular check-ups with a primary care physician can also help detect any health issues early on, allowing for prompt treatment and management.
Other resources available include home health aides, which can provide assistance with activities of daily living, as well as Telehealth services, allowing them to receive medical care and advice from the comfort of their own homes.
The fear of losing independence
It is completely normal and valid for older adults to fear losing their independence as they age. Independence is an essential part of our identity, and it’s natural to feel concerned about losing control over our lives. This fear can be particularly acute for older adults who have spent their lives making their own decisions and taking care of themselves and others. However, it’s important to remember that this fear is natural, and there are ways to manage it.
One of the most important steps is to be proactive about planning for future needs. This may involve making modifications to the home, such as installing grab bars in the bathroom or ramps for wheelchair access. It may also involve enlisting the help of family members or caregivers to assist with tasks that may become more challenging over time.
Routine tasks like dishwashing, grocery shopping, laundry, and cleaning can become more demanding. In certain situations, it may be necessary to hire a professional or seek the assistance of family members or caregivers to aid with these tasks. Nonetheless, with the right modifications and adaptations, many older adults can still carry out these tasks independently. For instance, utilising ergonomic cleaning tools or rearranging the kitchen to minimise bending and reaching can make dishwashing easier for older adults.
Public transportation can be difficult to navigate for those with limited mobility, and it may be necessary to explore alternative transportation options like ride-sharing services or senior-focused transportation programs. Additionally, some older adults may benefit from mobility aids like walkers, or scooters to help them get around more easily.
Finally, it’s important for older adults to be open to asking for help when they need it. This may involve reaching out to family members, friends, or community resources for assistance with tasks that may become more challenging over time.
Olivet Home Care provides a range of allied health and home care services to help older adults maintain their independence, address the fear of ageing in place, and remain living in their own homes. From assistance with daily tasks like cleaning and meal preparation to more specialized services like physiotherapy and medication management, Olivet Home Care is there to support you every step of the way.
Fear of financial insecurity
Financial insecurity is a common fear among older adults, and it can be a significant source of stress for those who are living on a fixed income. In Australia, there are several resources available to help alleviate these concerns and provide support for older adults and their families. From government assistance programs to financial counselling services, there are many options for those who are looking for help managing their finances in their later years. In this section, we will explore some of these resources and discuss how families and older adults can approach this sensitive topic and receive the help and advice they need.
- Age Pension: The Age Pension is a government-funded payment that provides financial assistance to eligible Australians who have reached retirement age. The amount of the pension is based on a person’s income, assets, and other factors.
- Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP): The CHSP is a government-funded program that provides a range of support services to help older adults live independently at home. This includes assistance with cleaning, gardening, meal preparation, and transport.
- Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT): ACAT is a team of health professionals who can assess an older adult’s care needs and provide recommendations for services and support.
- Financial Counselling: Many community organisations offer free financial counselling services to assist individuals with budgeting, debt management, and other financial concerns.
Families and loved ones can support older adults by encouraging them to seek assistance and providing emotional support during the process. It can also be helpful to do research together to identify available resources and services, and to accompany older adults to appointments or meetings with service providers.
Fear of isolation
The fear of social isolation is a serious concern for older adults, as it can have negative effects on both physical and mental health. As we get older, we may find that our social networks begin to shrink. Our friends and family members may move away, pass on, or become less mobile. Studies have shown that social isolation can increase the risk of depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline, and can even contribute to chronic illnesses such as heart disease and stroke.
Fortunately, there are steps that older adults can take to help alleviate the fear of social isolation and stay connected with others. One of the most important things is to maintain strong relationships with friends and family members. This may involve scheduling regular phone calls or visits, sending emails or letters, or using video chat technology to stay in touch.
Alternatively, to combat social isolation, participating in social groups or activities aimed at older adults can be highly effective. At Olivet, we offer Day Centre Programs that feature a diverse range of activities and events. These programs provide a great opportunity to socialize and connect with others. If you or a loved one is experiencing social isolation, consider reaching out. Our services are available to those in the local communities across Maroondah and Knox, including Ringwood, Croydon, Ferntree Gully, Boronia, and surrounding suburbs.
Fear of death
As we near the end of our lives, it’s natural to experience anxiety and fear concerning what is yet to come. The apprehension of death is a common occurrence among older adults. Seeking support from loved ones and healthcare professionals is crucial in addressing these fears and finding effective ways to cope with end-of-life concerns.
Advance care planning is the process of making decisions about the type of medical care that you would like to receive if you become seriously ill or unable to make your own medical decisions. This process involves discussing your wishes with your healthcare provider, family members, and caregivers. Advance care planning can help alleviate anxiety and fear by ensuring that your wishes are known and respected.
- Spiritual Support Services. Many religious and spiritual organizations offer support services for those who are facing end-of-life concerns. These services may include counselling, support groups, and other resources to help individuals and their families cope with their fears and anxieties.
- Respite care services provide temporary relief to family caregivers who are caring for an older adult. This service allows the caregiver to take a break from their caregiving responsibilities, providing them with the opportunity to rest and recharge. Respite care services can be provided in the home or in a care facility.
- Grief and Bereavement Support Services. This service provides emotional support to those who have lost a loved one. These are often available through hospitals, community centres, and other organizations. They can include individual counseling, support groups, and education about the grieving process.
We hope that this article has provided a new perspective on the fears associated with ageing in place and has given you and your loved ones a more informed approach to navigating this stage of life. If you have any questions, would like to assess your options, or are in need of support, our friendly team at Olivet Care is always here to help you.