This week we spoke to Melissa Young is the Developer of Planning for the Next Season a social enterprise comprised of people who work together with adult children and their parents to consider how they will age well at home now and into the future, giving them information and practical provisions to progress on their unique path.
Melissa has 6 tips to help people and their loved ones stay at home or “age in place” for as long as possible as they age:
1. Know what services are available
Do you know about ageing services in your area, how to access them and how much they might cost?
Care and support in the home can be through subsidised programs primarily funded by the state and federal government. These programs are accessed by having an assessment of need by a Regional Assessment Service (RAS) for state based Home and Community Care (HACC) services or by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).
The My Aged Care website has contact phone numbers to ring for your particular area. These subsidised services require a contribution to be paid for the support you receive. Some types of support include domestic assistance (help to keep your home tidy), personal care (help with showering and other personal needs), social support (getting out and about in the community) and respite (help and support for carers). This support is provided through organisations who are funded for community based programs.
Private home care options are also available on a fee for service basis and some people choose to pay privately rather than engage an organisation.
Some local councils also provide services and support for older people in their areas. Services vary from council to council.
Because of the way services may be accessed and the range of support available, it's important to get a lay of the land and understand what is on offer. Consider your needs now and what you may need in the future. Exploring what is available to you now can prevent stress in the future when decisions may have to be made quickly about care in the home.
2. Consider your basic provisions
Basic provisions in this context include the
- Set up and maintenance of wills,
- Enduring Power of Attorney
- Advance Health Directives
- Estate planning
Having the fundamentals in place is important if you can no longer speak for yourself. Preparing documents outlining your wishes for health care and finances can minimise stress for families. Professional service providers can help you prepare these documents and in most cases there is a lower cost alternative as well. Having a conversation with your family about your wishes and the location of your important documents is important in planning.
3. Set up your home environment
Starting your journey from home, it's important to consider your physical home environment as you age. Will your home environment work for you as your needs change? Some practical considerations include home modifications, to ensure safety and comfort. It might be a small change to the shower or kitchen that makes it easier to stay at home. You might consider shower rails or a different style of dishwasher. If your garden is too big to tackle on your own, but you love gardening, you might consider having raised beds so you can continue your gardening, but hire a service to maintain the larger parts.
4. Prioritise keeping in top shape
Taking a journey requires us to take good care of ourselves. It’s worth considering how you are going with your health overall. There are many factors that contribute to good physical and mental health as we age. Eating well, enjoying exercise and getting good quality sleep all contribute to keeping us strong in the journey. If traditional exercise isn’t your cup of tea, try Tai Chi, yoga or water aerobics to put the fun back into fit. Tai Chi and yoga can also help lower stress levels which is an added bonus. There are specific exercise classes of all kinds which are available in the community and are specifically tailored for older people.
5. Keep connected
Take your friends, family and community on the journey! Keeping connected to your friends, family and community is one of the most important things you can do for your well being as you age. Keeping connected gives us a sense of purpose; sharing our life with friends is important regardless of age.
6. Never stop learning
Getting older doesn’t mean people stop learning or developing. You can stay vibrant, pursuing your life’s goals and dreams. Becoming older is an opportunity to learn more about ourselves, develop new interests and share our wisdom with people. How does this help ageing in place? By keeping our brains active and engaged with new activities, we stay sharp mentally.
About Planning for the Next Season:
Planning for the Next Season is an enterprise comprised of people who work together with adult children and their parents to think about and make plans to continue living life to the full.
We work closely with people to develop a personalised 'roadmap' which explores a range of signposts in life's journey, helping people consider how they will age well now and in the future, giving them information and practical assistance in progressing on their own unique path.
We can be found on the web at www.thenextseason.com.au on Facebook and Twitter @the_next season.
Direct enquiries can be made to Melissa Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0400 248 655