Aging in place


Our Homes:  The majority of older adults live in the community and want to age in place in their own home.  Think about the home you live in now.  Do you plan to live there when you are 70?  80?  Do you own or rent?  Have you considered situations such as living alone for the first time and doing tasks that someone else has normally been responsible for, such as cooking, cleaning, financial tasks and the like?

As you consider what changes might be needed that would allow you to stay in your home, consider the following:

  • Is your home in a location where you have access to services and amenities such as health care professions, transit, family and friends?
  • Considering the current and future costs of staying in your home, can you afford to stay where you living as you age?
  • Can you afford to pay for services you many not be able to do for yourself in the future, such as house cleaning and yard maintenance?
  • Are the features in your home adequate to support your safety, mobility and health needs for the foreseeable future?  Can you make changes, such as grab bars in the bathroom, ramps and night lights as needed?
  • Are you aware of other housing options in your community and have you researched the cost and eligibility criteria if you are no longer able to remain in your home?
  • Have you given any thought to downsizing your possessions and your house size?

Transportation:  Most older adults will live 7 to 10 years past their ability to drive safely.  Have you thought about the type(s) of transportation you us now?  Do you plan to continue travelling in the same way when you are older?  Here are some things to consider:

  • If you are able to continue driving, will you take a refresher course to maintain your skills and knowledge of the rules and regulations?
  • Do you have access to alternative means of transportation in the event that your health and/or vision declines and you have to give up driving?
  • Have you calculated what it costs to run and maintain your own vehicle and compared that to the cost of other means of transportation?
  • Have you investigated delivery and other online shopping services you could use?

Finances:  Financial planning leads to greater well-being regardless of household income. Think about the state of your finances and your source(s) of income now. What will they be like when you are 70 or 80 years of age or older? The need for help making legal and financial decisions can arise at any time and for a wide range of reasons. If you get ill, have an accident or even if you are just away for a period of time, having someone you trust who is ready and able to help you can save time and trouble. Here are some things to consider:

  • Have you researched the cost of your retirement based on the lifestyle you wish to maintain?
  • Have you researched the income sources, such as benefits and supplements, that are available to you now and in the future?
  • Do you have someone you trust that you consult with for financial advice as needed?
  • Have you thought about the kinds of supports and services you may need to purchase as you age, such as house cleaning, shopping, yard maintenance and personal care support?
  • Do you have a will and do your loved ones know where all your important documents and passwords are located?
  • Do you have a plan for who will be responsible for your financial affairs if you are no longer able to look after those responsibilities yourself?  Have you communicated that plan to the people involved?

Staying Connected:  Social networks of friends or family are known to make an important contribution to general well-being and quality of life. Volunteering helps to keep people connected with their community, is associated with longevity and increases happiness and satisfaction in older age. Think about your social life as it is now. What will it look like when you are older?  Here are some things to consider:

  • Do you work at maintaining good relationships with family and friends?
  • Do you have people you can rely on for support and to talk to as needed?
  • Do you have friends you enjoy spending time with?  Do you have friends that younger than you are?
  • Have you given any consideration to how you might like to stay connected with your community, such as through volunteering?  Through social platforms such as Skype or Facebook?

Safety:  Think about some of the things you do now to protect yourself and reduce the potential for various types of injury, harm or abuse. Will you have other safety concerns when you are older? What could you do to reduce the risk of these occurring?  Consider the following:

  • I know how to protect myself from fraud, abuse and neglect (including emotional, physical, digital and financial abuse and neglect) and know where to go for support.
  • I understand the risk of falls as I age and know what to do to decrease this risk.
  • I keep my walkways clear of snow and ice.
  • I have considered using a home monitoring system, a personal emergency response system, or a fall detection system to help keep me safe at home.
  • I have plans and preparations in place in case of an emergency such as a power outage, extreme weather event, flood, fire, or other natural or human-caused disasters.

Supports & Services:  As Canadians age, the care and support from family, friends, neighbours and community agencies become increasingly important to the well-being of the seniors. In 2018, about 7.8 million individuals, or one-quarter of Canadians aged 15 and older provided care to a family member or friend with long-term health condition, disability or aging needs. Almost one quarter of Canadian seniors aged 65 years and over are caregivers themselves.

At some point in your life, you may need help with some activities or help with daily needs of living while in your own home. This includes things such as house cleaning; delivery of prepared meals, groceries and prescriptions; snow removal; yard work; dog-walking; and personal supports. Would you be able to manage if you could not do these activities for a short or longer period of time?  Consider the following:

  • I have researched the services and supports I may need to remain in my home in the future.
  • I have discussed with family and friends about the help I may need in the future.
  • As a caregiver, or if I become a caregiver in the future, I am aware of external resources to give me, as a caregiver, some relief or respite from this role, including adult day programs and overnight care.
  • If I am a caregiver, I have a plan for self-care to help maintain my own health and well-being

Community:  In an age-friendly community, policies, services and structures related to the physical and social environment are designed to support and enable older people to "age actively" - that is, to live in security, enjoy good health and continue to participate fully in society. Think about the community you live in now. How close are you to a grocery store, a drugstore, a coffee shop, the library or a restaurant? How much farther do you travel to reach medical offices, a dentist or a hospital? And how far do you travel to visit family and friends? What features are important to have in your community when you are older, and will your current community meet your future needs?  Consider the following:

  • I know what programs and services are available in my community.
  • There are activities in my community that interest me, and I know how to find out more about them.
  • I have considered whether I need to move to another community that is better designed to help older adults to live safely, enjoy good health, and stay involved.

You and Your Partner:  Your partner will play a critical role in your later years and will likely become a more central part of your life. Think about your relationship with your partner as it is now. What changes might you anticipate as you age and your needs change?  Consider the following:

  • Have you discussed your plans for old age and aging in place?
  • Have you shared your plans for what you want to be able to do financially?
  • Have you shared your plans for what you will do with your time?
  • Have you researched activities you can do together and separately?
  • Have you discussed how aging or changing needs might affect your relationship?
  • Have you discussed where you will want to live?

For more information on how you can plan to age in place, visit