Losing your independence is not an inevitability. With a bit of assistance, your house can continue to be your castle.
There’s no place like home, but sometimes the question is how to stay in it? Injury, disability and advancing years can all conspire to make maintaining your independence or that of a loved one seem a difficult task, but there are ways and means. Let’s look at some of them.
- If you’re elderly, planning is key to ensuring you’re prepared when your health or other circumstances change. Having a strong network of support in your neighbourhood will be worth its weight in gold when you begin to need assistance with this and that. Maybe you could give the teenager next door some pocket money for mowing your lawn, or carpool with a friend to the supermarket if you begin to lose your confidence on the road.
- Making structural modifications to your home may be the answer to staying put. ‘Universal design’ features such as ramps, wide doorways, slip-resistant surfaces, handrails, cupboards and sockets at reachable levels, bright lighting and door handles that don’t require gripping are all intended to create an accessible environment. Older New Zealanders may be eligible for government funding to help with these alterations; if you have a disability, the Ministry of Health can assist; and if you’re injured, ACC will help.
- If your health is suffering because your home is cold or damp, you might qualify for funding for insulation, which could be the difference between staying and going. Click here to find out if you make the cut.
- If meal preparation is a problem, consider free Red Cross service Meals on Wheels. Your GP will be able to help you ascertain if you’re eligible or not. Other services you could investigate include Eat, Nurse Maude and Farmhouse Foods.
- Inviting someone to help you at home is another practical way to prolong your independence. Home help can be organised for you after you have a needs assessment (you, your GP or the hospital can arrange this by contacting your nearest NASC provider), or you can choose who you hire by using a private service such as Mycare, which connects care workers in the community with people needing support, from gardening, to housework, to more personal tasks such as help with showering. Available online 24/7, Mycare lets you post a job ad listing what you require and search profiles of workers of all levels of experience to find someone who suits you at a rate you can afford. Some Mycare home help can be government funded too (have a needs assessment to find out), and it’s free to use for anyone with a disability. Learn more here, by calling our Customer Success Team on 0800 677 700, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.