Solutions for Seniors That Can Make Staying at Home Safer

Ask the Experts by Dan H. Tripp CLU

Q: My dad is getting on in years, and I know he will be needing assistance. But he’s adamant about staying at home. What should I be doing to help him stay in the house he’s lived in for the past 50 years?

A: This is a very common problem. In fact, nearly 90% of all seniors express a desire to stay at home as they get older. They know where things are. They know how to navigate the house in the dark. And studies have shown that patients actually do better at home medically do to this comfort factor.

What you could do is make sure the home remains “user-friendly”. This might mean support bars in the bathroom and non-slip surfaces to help prevent falls. Or it might mean moving his bedroom to the first floor or replacing the toilet with one with a higher seat. Be observant and see what little problems he has now; they will only get worse over time.

Also, have a conversation with your siblings (if you have any) as to who will do what if the time comes. Find out up front who will take responsibility for certain duties, such as preparing meals or laundry or even help with bathing. And if outside care is required, make sure you don’t get blindsided by the cost. And by all means, research whatever home care provider you think you’d like to use.

And finally, make sure the legal documents are in place, from a will to powers of attorney to a final directive. Planning in advance will provide you and your family with peace of mind, and make dad’s “aging in place” a lot less stressful.

Have questions? My group, Pointe Professionals, is offering another in a series of discussions called Aging YOUR Way on November 13 at 6:30p at the Helm, in conjunction with the Family Center.

Dan H. Tripp is an independent agent with nearly 30 years’ experience helping seniors and their families deal with the physical, mental and financial stress of caregiving. He holds a CLU designation from The American College, and is a member in good standing with NAIFA and the Society of Financial Service Professionals. He can be reached at 313-478-4337 or Tripp is a member of The Family Center’s Association of Professionals.

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