Elderly People Need Help at Home but Often Don’t Get It, Study Says

Aging in place doesn't mean without assistance, and a new study from John Hopkins University makes it clear elderly people need help at home.

A helper brings produce groceries to an older woman's home

Many people in the “sandwich generation” – that is, raising children while also caring for aging parents – work hard to help their parents age in place. They assist with transportation, home modifications, meal prep, medication management and more.

Juggling it all can be a challenge, and not every senior has loved ones nearby to offer support to begin with. So it may not be surprising that a January 2019 study from John Hopkins University found that of the roughly 25 million U.S. seniors who are aging in place and relying on certain types of assistance, many of them don’t get enough help, The Boston Globe reports.

For example, almost 60 percent of seniors with mobility difficulties stayed in their homes instead of going anywhere, 25 percent reported often staying in bed and 20 percent of seniors who have trouble getting dressed each day said that means they often don’t get dressed, according to the article.

The study highlights the significant need for help among many seniors trying to age in place, the Boston Globe reports, including help with eating, bathing, getting dressed, using the toilet and other needs.

The news seems to strike a chord among many people, with some commenters on a Washington Post story about the study arguing that more public support is needed to help seniors.

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According to the National Institute on Aging, planning ahead is key for any seniors hoping to age in place. Figure out what types of support you might need – like personal care, household chores, health care or money management – and look into resources for finding that support.

“You can get almost any type of help you want in your home – often for a cost,” the institute notes. And when it comes to in-person help, consider people you know, community and government resources or geriatric care managers.

Parents in the sandwich generation should also consider helping with home modifications to help an aging parent who wants to stay in their home. This may include installing bathroom grab bars, removing tripping hazards and ensuring proper lighting is in place.

For even more advice on helping your aging parents, visit Metro Parent’s Guide to Helping Your Aging Parents.

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