Continue living in your home
A key component of the Other Talk is a thorough and realistic discussion of where you want to (and where you’ll be able to) live in your last chapter and how that can be accomplished.
For most Americans, the desire to live in one’s home is powerful and deep seated:
- 90% of people older than 65 prefer to remain in their home
- More poignantly, 90% of people, if they had less than 6 months to live, would chose limited care at home rather than advanced medical intervention in a hospital or nursing home
This preference isn’t surprising since there are several real benefits to living at home:
- Spend your days in a familiar setting surrounded by your “things”
- Remain near your friends and your social network
- Retain feelings of independence, autonomy and control
- Don’t feel a burden to your kids
Yet, despite the overwhelming preference that Americans have for remaining at home,
- 60% will spend two years on average in a nursing home
- 80% will die in a nursing home or a hospital
Even when your physical condition declines, there are a number of resources that can make staying in your home possible. Based on my own experience, when my parents could no longer live on their own, we slowly but surely discovered and ultimately integrated the three options described below into a package that allowed us to keep Mom and Dad, with their advanced stages of Alzheimer’s and Multiple Sclerosis, in their home until their dying breath.
- “Aging-in-place” which is modifying the home for decreasing mobility and sensory issues (e.g. wheel chair accessibility, brighter lighting, grab bars, etc.)
- Adult day care/senior centers that take the elderly out of their isolation by providing social interaction, mental stimulation and a purpose to their days while allowing them to return home in the evenings.
- Home health care that provides a person to do housekeeping, buy groceries, prepare meals, help with bathing and getting dressed, provide transportation to doctor and social engagements and just someone to chat with.