"It takes a village" doesn't just apply to babies

I used to hear that all the time when my daughter was born. Lots of well meaning advice:

- ask for help if you need it, don't be afraid to lean on others

- there are people out there who've done this before and can help

- you need a support system in place if something should happen (flu, sick kid, daycare closed)

Why does that have to apply only to new parents and small children?

New parents fumble around for information, the tricks of the trade from seasoned parents, and it's understood in our culture that these people need help and encouraged that they seek it. So why not when an aging adult suddenly finds themselves in unchartered territory with aging in their home?

I've met countless people over the years working as a therapist and in my work with Home Field Advantage that are paralyzed by the fear that asking for help will lead to serious consequences. Believing that asking someone to help with tasks around the home will be the tipping point into their descent into their loss of independence. Parents have an insatiable need to assure their children that everything is fine in the face of adversity of any type. To try and shield children from harm when they are young, all the way up to trying to hide the effects of aging on their day to day activities. 

In other blog posts I've touched on the parent/child dynamic. It can be pretty tricky, especially when an adult child starts wading into the conversation around independence. So instead of putting up some "conversation starting tips" I thought it would be more helpful to talk about some of the resources available in our community to help those interested in aging in place. There are similar programs in many communities, they may have a different name or location, but these are some of the resources available.

1. Loaner's closet- These organizations have equipment available to borrow to trial at home. This has been a great resource for a person that's had an unexpected injury (ie. fall with resulting broken hip) that will heal eventually and the equipment (walker or cane) may only be needed for a short time. It is also great for trying out equipment if you aren't sure about the fit in your space, like if a shower chair or bench is a better option in your tub. Instead of buying one or both, you can borrow, try it out and make an informed decision. There are loaner's closets all over, in the seacoast NH area there are Lion's clubs and churches that take donated equipment and clean it so it can be lent out. 

For more information check out: 

http://nhfv.org/resources/loaners-closet-for-durable-medical-equipment/

2. Senior center- a great one stop shop to find out about community resources and programs specific to seniors aging in the community. Our local senior center has great resources- programs run at the center, arranging van rides to go to the grocery store or mall, and special events. Your local senior center is also a great resource for finding out about other programs in your area and services geared towards seniors.

For more information check out:

https://www.cityofportsmouth.com/recreation/senior

3. Senior fitness programs- I could write pages about the importance of regular physical activity, flexibility and balance work to support aging in place. There are classes geared specifically towards seniors at local gyms. A program called silver sneakers publishes locations online where their classes are run. I encourage all my clients to be as active as possible, from walking to attending classes at the gym, whatever your level of fitness, as long as you keep moving.

For more information check out:

https://www.silversneakers.com/

These are some examples of what is available in your community, as a way to start a conversation about aging in place. There are also specialized programs for aging in place, private pay companies to help with housework and errands, and local aging in place specialists and geriatric care managers. Your local senior center will have a list of available services geared towards seniors. 

If you have had this conversation with a loved one or are unsure about how to start the conversation about aging safely at home, contact me.

I would love to help as many people enjoy the comfort of their own home for as long as possible. 

Check out the list of services I provide to see what may work best for your needs.