Staying Independent: The Challenges, Providence

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Hear this discussion from our Longevity Explorers — circles of older adults who meet monthly to explore solutions to the challenges that come with aging.

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from: Longevity Explorers | Providence

Discussion Summary

Members broke into groups of three to discuss four related questions then returned to the larger group to share their discussions.  The following summaries those discussions.

1.  What is the quality and/or activity that you most connect with being independent?  What comes to mind when you think of “being independent”?

  •     Driving my car
  •     Traveling (alone, in a group)
  •     Staying in one’s own home 
  •     Doing things alone
  •     Having the ability to accomplish basic daily needs
  •     Mobility, walking without assistance
  •     Ability to do home repairs: plumbing, electricity
  •     Taking care of oneself without help
  •     Freedom to come and go as one wishes, no external restrictions
  •     Preparing one’s own meals
  •     Sleeping and getting up according to one’s own schedule

2.  Assuming you are now independent, what do you think will be the most likely reason for losing your independence.  (If you think “health,” try to be more specific about what health conditions would be most likely to affect independence.)

  •     Old age
  •     Loss or major diminishment of sight
  •     Extreme loss of one of the senses
  •     Memory loss, dementia
  •     Loss of mobility, foot, leg impairment, inability to climb stairs
  •     Loss of financial independence, financial limitations
  •     Inability to drive
  •     Not having a fully accessible home
  •     Severe physical condition, such as a major heart condition
  •     Inability to perform daily tasks

3.  What things (including home modifications, if any) and services do you think you might need in order to help you retain your independence for the longest possible time?

  •     Adequate finances and control of finances
  •     Having a driver, using a driving service (Uber, Lyft, etc.)
  •     Home health care assistant
  •     Eliminating stairs, Chair lift for stairs, moving stairs
  •     Cleaning services
  •     Trusted custodial / maintenance services
  •     Trusted long-range financial manager
  •     Trusted short-range (weekly/ monthly) financial service (i.e., paying bills)
  •     Cook, meal services, delivery service, meals on wheels
  •     Electronic personal assistant, “smart home,” (technical services)
  •     Home modifications (removing loose rugs, widening doors, lowering counters, installing shower/bath safety bars)
  •     Laundry service, pick up and delivery
  •     Shopping service, shopping online
  •     Continuing a social life
  •     A different climate (weather)

4.  Do you have a plan for what you would do if for some reason you cannot remain independent? [Note: many of the small groups ran out of time to have a full discussion of this question.]

  •     Start with assessment by primary care physician and of financial resources and with family and location consultants
  •     Begin with a part-time helper in the home
  •     Move to a location close to a child
  •     Move in with child, rely on children, children?
  •     Move: 1) to an assisted living facility, 2) to co-housing
  •     No plans 
  •     Use services of The Providence Village
  •     Arrange Financial Services
  •     Hemlock (“Caring and Compassion”) Society

Providence Explorers, May 24, 2018






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