There are many different living options available to people as they age these days. Some have saved well and can move into a senior living community. Others feel the financial strain of potentially outliving their savings and move in with family. And many others choose to remain at home, often times alone, in order to age in place.
Aging in place is both convenient and financially savvy, with mortgages having been long paid off. The Institute on Aging reports that in 2010, one-third of seniors who were not in nursing homes or hospitals were living home alone, which amounts to nearly 12 million people over the age of 65. But living alone can take a physical and emotional toll as we age. Isolation can lead to depression, malnutrition, anxiety, and medication management issues, which contribute to fall risk.
Luckily, there are a variety of senior resources and senior services available to help those in need of a little extra help.
Whether you have stopped driving due to eyesight or hearing issues, or because of limited mobility, many cities and municipalities provide subsidised transportation options in order to provide help for seniors. Senior services in larger areas typically include free or low-cost ride share programs that provide door-to-door transportation. For example, in Philadelphia, SEPTA offers transportation for seniors 65 and over through CCT-CONNECT, in which “seniors pay 15% of the fare and share the same vehicle with passengers traveling to and from other destinations.”
There is also always public transportation, such as city buses and trains, which has to be outfitted in order to accommodate those with disabilities. To provide a little more help for seniors, public transportation systems typically will offer a senior discount on fares to help ease the financial burden of traveling from place to place. Or, trendy options like Lyft and Uber can also be great senior resources, as they provide door-to-door service on demand.
Feeding America, a nonprofit organization that works towards eradicating hunger in America, estimates that almost “6 million senior citizens currently face hunger in our country.” In many cases, it comes down to seniors having to choose between medical expenses or grocery shopping, so programs such as Feeding America and Meals on Wheels provide invaluable help for seniors at low or no cost. Meals on Wheels is a federally funded program that “focuses on caring for individuals whose diminished mobility makes it hard to shop for food, prepare meals or socialize with others.” Together with Feeding America and other local programs, they seek to ensure that no senior goes to bed hungry.
The government provides senior resources for food service as well, include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that helps low-income people buy food. Serving as modern day food stamps, SNAP benefits are put on an electronic debit card that can be used to purchase food at most grocery stores.
For those seniors who need assistance at home, there are a variety of options available. Medicare, which provides affordable medical care help for seniors, covers select in-home senior services including intermittent skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech-language pathology and occupational therapy, just to name a few.
There are also plenty of agencies located around the country that provide in-home care for seniors. Depending on the company and the services they provide, you can arrange for a caregiver to come to your home to provide companionship, prepare fresh meals, run errands with you, and take care of a variety of personal needs. Many of these senior services are hourly, so you can schedule as much or as little time as you need with them.
Fall Risk Safety Net
The risk of falls is higher for seniors who live alone, which also means that they are more likely to suffer an injury alone without having access to immediate help. Investing in a medical alert device is one of the most cost-effective senior resources available. Medical Guardian offers a variety of medical alert products at different price points, granting seniors the peace of mind of protection even if they live alone.
Help for seniors comes in many forms, both at the local and national level, so there is no need for anyone to suffer in silence. And with Medical Guardian, we provide more than just emergency services; we also provide a friendly voice on the other end of the line to help seniors who live alone feel more connected and less isolated.