GOOD COMPANY: Organisations such as the National Seniors are vital in providing social interaction for our older residents.
GOOD COMPANY: Organisations such as the National Seniors are vital in providing social interaction for our older residents. Francis Witsenhuysen

Independence key to health

I REMEMBER something my mum said when it was time for her to move into an aged care facility.

Even though she was no longer capable of looking after herself, and her husband was long dead, she told me she would prefer to remain in her own home, where she had lived for the past 50 years.

She still thought she could manage in her home without any help.

She was a very independent person, which in the long run did her no favours.

Most older people want to continue to enjoy the familiarity of their own home and community.

It is something that is extremely important to them, and to their mental and physical state.

Living independently in your own home as you age is what you want, but sometimes you might need some help with daily tasks that you can no longer manage as well on your own.

Both the Federal and State Governments have programs in place to help people remain in their own home for as long as possible.

Aged care services operated by government agencies are designed with the aim of meeting your changing needs as you get older.

For example, there are programs to help with home maintenance, programs that help with minor aids and equipment or small home modifications such as grab rails in bathrooms and toilets.

They are all designed to help aging residents maintain a lifestyle that they are familiar with.

Other programs provide funding to help people with tasks like dressing, preparing meals or some level of nursing care to help older persons remain in their own home longer.

For some people, the family home becomes too big to continue to maintain as they age, especially if there is a large yard to look after.

For some, downsizing may be an option, and there are many ways for someone to do this.

Selling the larger home and purchasing a smaller one, for example, may be an option or moving into a smaller one-bedroom unit could be another method.

But whatever way you choose to downsize you may still need aged care programs in place to remain living independently.

Allowing an older person to remain at home can go a long way in maintaining their quality of life.

Many older people would much prefer to stay in the home with the help of a caregiver instead of going into a facility.

The familiar surroundings provide a place in which they can do what they are used to doing and be around friends of long standing.

In discussing this issue with the Community Service Officer of a local community organisation she explained that older people living alone, even if it is in their own home, need the company of younger people, especially their children and grandchildren.

They also need the company of people nearer their own age so as to be able to discuss issues and times in which they grew up.

There are many community organisations that provide social activities for older persons giving them avenues of socialisation with their own age group. The issue is, some have difficulty in getting around and therefore become isolated from their community. Spending time for a chat with an older person will go a long way in making them still feel a part of our community.

Discovering the types of services available to older people can be as simple as contacting the 'My Aged Care' centre on 1800 200 422 or contact Ipswich City Council to find services.

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