What does it mean to age well?

When we think about aging, we may find there are conflicting views about the freedom of retirement and the challenges of one’s body becoming older. But, when it comes to the word itself, “aging” can mean lifestyle choices and living one’s best life. Sometimes, it is taking an intentional first step to plan out what aging will be for you.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, aging well involves intentionality and active participation in your health and lifestyle. Being aware of your physical needs and changes may involve having conversations with friends and families about your goals and plans for your health, your living abilities, and how you intend to change these areas over time. Aging well also involves plans for your financial health, supportive resources to continue living your best life, and having a plan for your needs as you change. Aging well also involves a plan for your mental and emotional health, supportive friendships and community outside of your immediate family, as well as engaging in activities that create meaning for your life. Finally, healthy aging involves a balanced diet and some form of physical activity to support your overall health goals.

Aging is more that numbers rising, another calendar year gone by, or physical change. Aging is something you can plan for and work with. At least, that’s what we believe!





September is Healthy Aging Month

The goal of healthy aging is to emphasize the habits for individuals to build into their lifestyle. The goal is for these behaviors to take hold before the later stages of aging and entry into the geriatric phase of life. Ideally, these are habits that start in the mid-40s and are continued into each of the following decades. Modifications of course are part of the process, but an holistic view of body, mind, soul, and spirit really direct a comprehensive approach that your healthcare team can build treatment plans around to support your engagement in your best life.

Here are some tips:

  1. Get Moving – There are many ways to stay active, and the target time commitment is around 10-15 minutes daily.
  2. Maintain a Healthy Diet – There are lots of diet fads and plans available, but the fundamentals are the same. Eating a balanced diet is crucial to maintaining your health.
  3. Stay Social – The power of community is real and isolation can have an impact on both your mental and physical wellbeing.
  4. Balance your Body and Mind – Engaging in thought provoking exercises is crucial to maintaining your mental abilities and supporting mental flexibility. Exercises for the mind are just as important as for the body.
  5. Commit to annual check-ups – Building a relationship with a primary care provider for your annual physical is key to identifying changes early. Don’t forget your dentist, optometrist, and audiologist. These services are crucial to accessing and participating in meaningful activities as part of your overall health strategy.

If you would like ideas of activities and strategies, check out https://www.unicityhealthcare.com/celebrating-healthy-aging-month-during-september/#:~:text=September%20is%20Healthy%20Aging%20Month,positive%20aspects%20of%20growing%20older.

Making the Move: How to Transition Loved Ones to Assisted Care

Making a decision on when to help senior relatives move into assisted living can be an emotionally fraught time. It can be exacerbated if only one-half of the couple needs an advanced degree of care, while the other is still able to live independently and be self-sufficient. In addition to the stress and anxiety of this type of situation, there can also be a degree of financial strain. According to Eldercare Locator, two out of three seniors will need assistance; some advanced planning can help smooth the journey.

To help, the Elite Home Health & Hospice offers the following guidance.

How to Know When It’s Time

Most seniors resist the urge to move into assisted living, primarily because it’s a sign of a major life change, as well as a loss of independence. It’s best to have a discussion about the subject with parents before the time comes so that you’re able to be respectful of their wishes, while still planning ahead as needed. Most healthcare providers will say it’s time to look at assisted living once an individual is no longer able to perform activities of daily living, like bathing and dressing, preparing healthy meals, taking necessary medications, and being safely mobile.

Tiered Assisted-Living Options

It is becoming more commonplace for senior couples to gravitate toward structured living environments that have a tiered approach. For example, many communities offer a combination of independent living options all the way through long-term and even hospice care, all in the same physical location. In this environment, both halves of the couple can live in the same community and see each other on a regular basis. The one who needs a greater degree of care receives it, while the one who remains more independent is able to maintain some of their autonomy. The level of care each receives can evolve over time as necessary to meet their individual needs.

How to Find the Right Community

Assisted living communities vary greatly in terms of staff-to-patient ratios, amenities, services, and costs. You can take tours and meet with social workers and admission directors to learn more about various locations before making a decision. Read online reviews from the Better Business Bureau to help ensure you’re not choosing a place that has complaints and health violations or raises red flags. You can also ask for referrals from family members and friends. Some communities even allow prospective residents to stay for a few days to test the environment.

Paying for Senior Care

The cost of assisted living can be high, especially for two individuals. Long-term care insurance and Medicaid and Medicare may cover some costs, but much depends on geographic location, the type of community, and the level of care needs in question. Many people sell the family home as a way to subsidize the expenses. You can learn about the value of a house by consulting a real estate professional, or by calculating the home’s value by subtracting the amount still owed on the mortgage from the current market value of a home. You can find a general ballpark figure using online real estate search tools, or have the home appraised by an independent party.

How to Downsize

Making a move into assisted living means that in most cases, a significant percentage of household and personal items will need to be donated, given away, or sold. To make the transition easier, Daily Caring advises encouraging loved ones to keep personal items that have sentimental value. You can utilize the services of an estate sale company or auction house to help liquidate assets. This helps with the downsizing process, as well as provides funds to cover the cost of assisted living. Always get several quotes and written estimates before choosing a service provider.

Having discussions with your loved one and other family members about planning senior care and financial matters can make for difficult conversations. It’s best to keep some negotiating tips in mind. Always come to the conversation prepared with details and options. Remember that this is a collaborative process; always stay focussed on what’s best for your loved one.

Even though moving a loved one into assisted living can be very difficult for adult children, it’s important to maintain a degree of compassion. This is a difficult transition, and acknowledging fears and worries can help smooth the process. Making the effort to find a place where both halves of the couple can reside together can help diminish some of the worry, and instead, provide a degree of comfort and security. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can provide resources to help.

Elite Home Health & Hospice has sought to provide life-changing care and service since 1984. For more information, please visit our website or contact us today!

This article was guest written by Annabelle Harris from Elders Center. There is no affiliation with Elite Home Health & Hospice.