There is a growing movement among older adults in the United States for aging in place—a movement that takes senior living out of communities and into the home.
Aging in place is not a new concept—residents at Deupree House and other ERH communities have been living independently in their own apartments for years. But if you’re looking to stay in your family home for the foreseeable future, there are a few things you need to consider.
Assess your Healthcare needs.
You may not currently need certain healthcare services, but aging at home means that you’re prepared for all eventualities.
We spoke in an earlier blog about how the number of physicians practicing geriatric medicine is steadily decreasing. If you want to receive quality senior healthcare, you need to be within a network that has excellent care providers.
Get to know your doctor. When it’s your wellbeing on the line, you need to know that your doctor can be trusted to provide you with any care you may need.
- Check out a physician’s credentials.
You don’t need to see a doctor who graduated first in their class from the Harvard Medical School, but you do want to make sure that your physician has the credentials to back up his/her practice.
- Build a relationship.
When you’re looking for a good doctor you need to find a physician that balances skills with personality. You’ll never get the healthcare you need if you avoid seeing your doctor because you don’t like how you’re treated at the office.
- Know your network.
If your doctor is part of a hospital or healthcare network, it’s likely that you will be referred to hospitals and other doctors within that system for a procedure or specialized care. So do your homework on the facilities and specialists you may be referred to for procedures. Make sure you trust them with your health.
Do you know how you’ll get the care you need when you’re no longer able to drive yourself?
Even older adults that currently have a driver’s license and their own vehicle need to be aware that there may come a time in the future that they are no longer able to drive safely. You need to have a plan in place that will allow you to receive care— get to the doctor’s office for appointments, fill prescriptions, and get to the hospital for any procedures or tests.
How close is your doctor’s office? The pharmacy?
Is alternative transportation available in the event that you are no longer able to drive yourself?
A majority of older Americans don’t know what kind of care and services their healthcare plans actually covers. If you don’t read about your coverage when you sign up for Medicare or a private insurance plan, and don’t keep up with the changes and reforms in senior healthcare, staying healthy can quickly become a major expense as out-of-pocket start adding up.
A good healthcare plan does two things
- Cover both routine and unexpected medical expenses. From trips to the doctor’s office and hospitalization to prescription drugs, medical tests, and rehabilitation services—you need a plan that helps pay for it all.
- Limit your out-of-pocket. The best insurance should pick up the tab for of your medical expenses without an exorbitant deductible or co-pay—$5,000 to $10,000 a year is about the average out-of-pocket expense for senior healthcare.
It is critical that you understand your coverage to avoid hidden fees in senior healthcare. Sit down with someone you trust—an adult child, close friend, or advisor—and look through your healthcare plan. You want to make sure that you have the coverage you need.