Create an independent living care plan
Independent Living for Seniors: Page 2
3. Observe and then put together a plan
A family member or caregiver should start by spending a day with them, suggests Cason, writing down their daily routine. This will let you know when they are most alert and active, and also when they're most likely to be tired, depressed, or anxious. Then you can help plan activities for when they're at their best, and perhaps extra care during the low points of the day, when they may be more vulnerable to accidents or just feeling blue.
Practical needs to consider might include:
- Transportation Do they plan to continue driving? What are the options in their area if they need to stop driving at some point?
- Finances Do they have the income to cover their needs, including in-home care if they could use it? If not, what public or private resources can they or their family draw on to help? Do they plan to manage their own finances, or do they need or want help? If they do, how do they find that help?
- Health care Do they live near their doctors and a hospital? What do they plan to do if they have a medical problem on the weekend or on a holiday?
- Household maintenance Which tasks can they still handle, and which do they need help with? Who is available -- volunteer or professional -- to help out?
4. Explore all the options
Options for independent living have changed just as much in recent years as those for out-of-home care. As you plan, consider some of the less-obvious solutions, such as a home share, putting in a specially designed backyard cottage called an ECHO, or helping them turn their neighborhood into a naturally occurring retirement community, in which older neighbors organize, sometimes with the help of a community agency, to provide collective services.
5. Learn about in-home care resources for independent living
Independent living doesn't have to mean going it alone. In-home care options run the gamut from basic services such as housekeeping and meal delivery all the way to live-in nurse's aides.