“…When I grow up and get married, I’m living alone. Did you hear me – I’m living alone! I’m living alone!” Words from a precocious eight year old Macaulay Culkin in the popular 1990 movie Home Alone may somehow resonate with an 80 or 90 year old wanting to live independently and not in a nursing home or residential facility. Growing up – do you remember how you could hardly wait to become independent of your parents – to move out to a place you could call your very own? Just because a person gets older does not mean they are ready to give up the idea of independence; unfortunately, independence does become more difficult to maintain as life progresses.
A study by the U.S. Administration on Aging, A Profile of Older Americans: 2011, reported the following:
“A relatively small number (1.5 million) and percentage (4.1%) of 65+ population in 2009 lived in institutional settings such as nursing homes (1.3 million). However, the percentage increases dramatically with age…”
Living independently for as long as possible is a goal for many older folks, but considerations for transportation, mobility to safety in the bathroom must be planned far in advance to make this goal a reality. Making a decision about remaining at home or moving to an assisted living or other care facility for an aging parent is not an easy one to make. It’s also a decision that family members will often struggle with, especially if the parent is bound and determined to stay in their home.
So what can caregivers do? First and foremost get as much information as possible about how to prepare in order for a loved one to stay in their home for as long as possible. A great place to begin is mmLearn.org, a website with over 200+ free videos to support the caregiver care for their loved ones as well as themselves.
Here are a few videos that can help:
- Staying Independent Longer with Adaptive Equipment and Strengthening Exercises
- Living Independently - A Healthy Choice
- How to Hire a Private Duty Caregiver
- Forever Young with Exercise
- Understanding Low Vision
If you're looking for a comprehensive resource for family caregivers, check out our online Family Caregiver Guide.