It might be a cliché to say that home is where the heart is — but there's some truth to the saying, too. Deciding where and with whom to live is an important decision for people of all ages, but especially for seniors. While post-retirement life can hold great joy for older adults, it also poses its fair share of challenges. After all, as we age, ordinary activities such as cleaning, cooking, bathing and medication management can become more difficult to complete. At a certain point, taking on the daily burden alone may no longer feel like an option.
According to the CDC, one in five adults aged 85 and older need help with the activities of daily living — and elders living in single-person households are more likely to report difficulties with managing self-care, independent living and mobility.
Seniors can choose to face this challenge in several ways. Some move into assisted living facilities that provide onsite help with day-to-day chores and care; others might opt to live with adult children. Many, however, prefer to maintain their independence for as long as possible. Per a recent AARP survey, 77% of adults over 50 "want to remain in their homes for the long term."
"It's an important and incredibly individual choice," Doris Marks Rodier, Director of Marketing and Special Events at Bayley, a community that provides a continuum of care and residential options to seniors in the Cincinnati area, noted in an interview. "You need to be somewhere where you can feel at home. If maintaining a sense of independence is important to you, you should be able to do so."
That said, those who opt to remain at home may face some adjustment hurdles as they age, even if they have day-to-day support from family members.
"You just don't realize how much work goes into daily life until it becomes a little harder to do," Rodier said. "You're cooking, cleaning, running errands — and if you're starting to have mobility problems, those chores can start to feel exhausting or unmanageable."
Fortunately, seniors don't need to choose between independence and day-to-day well-being. By receiving at-home services, older adults can age at home safely and with the daily support they need.
At-home services provide crucial support for seniors aging in place
According to Rodier, even a little in-home support can make a crucial difference for a senior who has begun to struggle with daily chores and self-care. Too often, she says, elders and their families try to take on the burden alone, only to stretch themselves too thin.
"Sometimes, you just need that extra bit of help," she said. "Seniors and their families try to shoulder all of life's challenges by themselves — but they don't need to! That's what a community like Bayley is for: to provide a helping hand when you need it so you can live your life the way you want."
Since 2015, the Bayley Home Services program has provided nonmedical, private-pay home services to seniors residing on-campus — i.e., in the community's assisted living apartments, skilled care housing or maintenance-free cottages — as well as to those living independently in the broader Cincinnati area. According to Bayley's website, the initiative is designed to "ensure an individual's needs are met while still maintaining the freedom they deserve."
To accomplish this mission, Bayley Home Services offers a wide selection of supportive services. These include day-to-day help with bathing and personal hygiene, homemaker services (e.g., meal planning and prep, light housekeeping, laundry, pet care, shopping etc.), prescription pick-up, medication reminders, transportation and companionship.
Bayley also hosts an onsite Bayley Adult Day Program for seniors who wish to socialize, engage in planned activities, go on group outings, and receive help for their daily healthcare needs.
"Our goal is to help seniors meet their goals," Rodier said. "If your intention is to live independently at home — okay, let's figure out how to make that happen."
Bayley provides a sense of "home" to visiting and full-time community members
Our residential needs change with us as we age. While an independent, home-based arrangement might work perfectly well at first, there may eventually come a time when a senior needs the full-time support provided by an assisted living or memory care facility. By receiving at-home or day care services from a community like Bayley, seniors benefit from being familiar with the campus — and, in some cases, its residents — before making a move.
"Again, it's all about finding out what 'home' means to you at that moment of your life," Rodier said. "If you're already engaged with the community and feel comfortable on campus, the transition can feel much more natural; you're not pulling up roots and setting them down in an unfamiliar place."
This article was originally published on Cincinnati.com on October 17, 2022
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