There are many advantages to remaining in your own home as you age.Choosing to stay at home rather than moving into residential care not only allows you to retain your independence as you get older, but also offers you the comfort and security of remaining connected to your community.
According to the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), between 78 and 81 percent of Australians aged over 55 would prefer to live in their own home as they age.
From a financial perspective, it also works out more cost-effective than living in a retirement home or moving to an assisted living community.
In addition, Australian seniors who choose to remain in their own homes as they get older also help to save the government money.
A report commissioned by AHURI recently claimed a person accessing Support Programmes costs the Commonwealth Government on average about $3,900 per person each year.
This is a huge saving on the cost of a person living permanently in a residential aged care facility which costs the Government around $69,055 each year, in addition to any costs paid by the aged care resident from their own pocket.
Living in your family home also means you can access in-home support services for help with living independently, while also boosting your wellbeing.
Plan, plan and plan some moreThere are many considerations you will need to take into account when ensuring your home is retirement ready.
But planning can be difficult because you never know how your future needs may change. A good place to begin is to speak with older members of your social circle about what they wished they knew about ageing at home.
Having a long-term strategy in place will give you flexibility and afford you peace of mind. Use this to consider possible eventualities such as how you would cope if you are diagnosed with a life-limiting illness or what would happen in the event your loved ones move out of the area.
Staying fit and healthy is also crucial to your independence as is looking at ways to adapt your living space to ensure any potential hazards (such as uneven paths) are removed or fixed.
Why you don’t have to go it aloneThere are several in-home support packages that can help ensure you meet your everyday goals, should you ever require them.
Home Support Programmes are designed to provide assistance with everyday tasks, such as domestic chores, food preparation and household maintenance, that may become more difficult as you age.
Home Care Packages (HCP) have four levels with different funding amounts to cater for basic care needs through to more complex care needs. These offer help with everything from folding washing and meal preparation to in-home nursing and palliative care.
As both these programmes are government funded, you must first undergo an assessment to ensure eligibility.
If you’re not eligible for government support or are seeking to skip the waiting periods, you can arrange for a private support package to get you the help you want or need.
It is inevitable that you may be left feeling a little overwhelmed at some time during this journey. When this happens remind yourself of your end goal.
The effort now is a small price to pay to leave you feeling safe, happy and healthy in the sanctity of your own home.