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Aging in Place

How to stay in your own home longer
Posted at 10:31 AM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 12:24:55-05

As we get older, our bodies go through lots of changes, and some of us aren't able to get around as well as we used to, which means making changes to how we live.

An increasing number of people are becoming caregivers for their aging parents.

And making some modifications to your own home can help you "Age in place".

Like one man we found.

For eighty-seven year old Danny Seiger it's the memories that matter most.

Danny says, "The grandchildren come every once when they were little pumpkins, you see that little toy there? It's still here."

He's called this house home for the past 53-years, surrounded by his wife Marcia, their children, and grandchildren.

"When the kids would come and bring the grandchildren, because we'd babysit. Oh my god, what my wife did different colored cups, different colored markers," Danny says.

In June 1996, Marcia was diagnosed with cancer.

"She didn't want to go to a hospice. And I said okay, what do you want? And she said I want to be at home," Danny says.

Later that year, she passed away, surrounded by family at home.

And after that, Danny's kids wanted him to move.

They thought he should find a single-level home or a senior-living facility, but he wasn't keen on the idea.

Danny says, "And when they came to take her to the funeral home and I looked around. I thought to myself, well this is my life. This is me. My wife, my family, my children, my grandchildren, my neighbors, my community. Why do I have to go?

Elder care representatives say that's a common way of thinking for people as they age.

Terri Foster, Director of the Aging and Disability Resource Center, says, "I have yet to come across someone who says you know, I can't wait to get old and spend the rest of my days in a nursing home.

Instead, many people want to "Age in Place, " and live at home.

That means making home modifications.

Experts say starting when you're younger is key.

Foster says, "You never know what's going to happen. You know, you're healthy and 60 all of a sudden you have a stroke, you go to the hospital and now you have paralysis or hemiplegia on your one side and you can't get up the stairs. And you weren't planning for this.

She suggests changing the simpler things first, like switching door knobs to lever hands and moving outlets higher up so you don't have to bend over.

Danny says he didn't have to do any of that, but he did get a special recliner, and walker and has a caretaker who helps him during the day.

And since he wouldn't budge on moving to a single level home, he made a compromise with his kids.

Danny says, "The kids couple years ago got me that stair lift so when I ride on that. I feel like a Maharaja, I see my domain."

Getting help from family is also recommended because there are so many home modification scams targeting seniors.

Doug Beach, CEO of Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging, says, "You need to know that people are credentialed that they actually do what they say they're doing, make sure that the better business report is a good report.

After making adjustments, Danny is happier growing older in his own home surrounded by his precious memories.

Danny says, "Me, the cup is always 90% full, okay. I'm a blessed man. Everything is easy. Everything's good.

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