Sunday, December 04, 2022

Aging in place? Factors to consider when deciding whether it is safe to stay at home

Newswise — According to a recent Associated Press poll, four out of five Americans age 65 and older want to stay in their homes. But deciding how long an elderly relative should be left alone and when they should move to a more supportive environment — such as an assisted living or nursing home — can be difficult.

Molly Camp, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern who specializes in geriatric mental health, recommends identifying strengths and weaknesses in these five domains of safe and independent living before making decisions.

  • Personal needs and hygiene: Make sure basic self-care activities can be completed such as bathing, getting dressed and toileting. Ambition, transferability and the associated downside risk can also be considered in this domain.
  • home environment: Consider the condition of the home, which includes basic maintenance and repair, access to electricity and water, an adequate sanitary environment, and protection against other safety hazards such as structural deficiencies.
  • Activities required for independent living: Evaluate whether the person can complete complex tasks at home, including shopping, food preparation, cleaning, transportation, and using technology.
  • Medical Self-Care: Make sure the person can take their medicines, care for the wounds, and monitor themselves for any illnesses.
  • Financial matters and assets: Assess a person’s ability to pay bills on time, track other finances, avoid exploitation, and enter into binding contracts when needed.

One person does not need to be able to handle all these tasks alone to be in their home. For example, home visitation programs can assist with chores such as cleaning and cooking, and family members can help with finances. But these five domains provide useful guidance for individuals, families and care teams when deciding whether it is safe to stay at home, said Dr. Camp, who also serves as director of UTSW’s Neurocognitive and Geriatric Program. work.

UT Southwestern is ranked among the nation’s top 25 hospitals for geriatric medicine US news and world report,

Dr. Camp holds the Jake Tobolsky Professorship in Psychiatry, the Helen B. Tobolowski and in honor of Dr. David M. Tobolowski.

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institute’s faculty has received six Nobel Prizes, and includes 26 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 14 Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators. Full-time faculty of more than 2,900 are responsible for medical advancements and committed to rapidly translating science-driven research into new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide care for more than 100,000 hospitalized patients in more than 80 specialties, more than 360,000 emergency room cases, and oversee approximately 4 million outpatient visits a year.

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