I just saw a checklist on caring.com for helping adult children who worried about aging parents and whether they should stay in their own homes. For those thinking about these issues, there is plenty of advice on the site that can deepen thinking and identify ways to help.
But I see this list and I start to think about it as a framework for identifying home design, tech devices, online services and directories of services to mitigate issues in each of these areas. Let's take a look at it in that context. Rather than jump into vendor names, let's thinkabout categories of capability that are useful prior to circumstances becoming dire (like a fall and hospitalization, like significant dementia, like stroke, and so on). Links are for illustration, not an endorsement. And this is a start. I would love some feedback as to whether this is the right framework and whether the idea structuring a view of the market in fact, linking these to online sources of tools and information is the right approach. It's not all filled in but you can get the idea. Perhaps there is a simpler framework that would be this comprehensive.
1. Have the housing talk. Consider retrofit of the house to make it manageable. Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) home modifications, universal design standards, home automation.
2. Look for telltale signs they may not be able to keep up with home maintenance. Build a directory of service providers, vetting them with online service ratings.
3. Watch how they move, climb stairs, and get up from chairs. Identify mobility aids, looking at lift chairs, scooters, stairlifts.
4. Check in on their mood, memory, and overall mental state. First evaluate whether depression is a factor, think about the ways to boost brain fitness,
5. Cook and eat with them.
6. Go for a drive. First help them become a better driver, maybe with a video game designed to help, get the right car, hope for the MIT development of a smarter car, or evaluate whether it's time to stop driving.
7. Look for alternative transportation options. There are many -- in fact this is the mission of councils on aging, and there's even an organization dedicated to offering rides.
8. Get up to speed on their medications and healthcare needs. Establishing a medication reminder process.
9. Observe their ability to perform the five basic activities of daily living.
10. Pay attention to their personal hygiene.
11. Do a safety walk-through.
12. Check in with their friends and neighbors.
13.Get a professional opinion.
14. Check in on yourself.