How do you plan on aging in place?
Services for older adults are often overlooked and, in many places, almost nonexistent. There are several reasons for the lack of development of senior services and for the lack of awareness of existing services.
These reasons include:
- Many people assume that their health will quickly decline towards the end of their life; that they will go from completely healthy to passing away over a very short period. In reality, lifespans are increasing and, as medical practices and technology continue to evolve, people are able to live with serious medical conditions such as heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- There is a stigma surrounding aging and the associated acts of death and dying. Chronic diseases can be scary, as iswatching a friend or family member’s body break down as they age. This guides our thoughts to the greatest unknown: death. We tend to speak about phenomena we don’t understand in hushed tones, if we speak about it at all. This mindset can therefore lead to the marginalization of senior services.
Tri-County Health Network (TCHNetwork) offers symbiotic programming through Palliative Support Services and a partnership with the Aging and Disability Resources of Colorado (ADRC) through Region 10. These programs combine to offer free and low-cost wrap-around services to aid community members in living in their own homes for as long as they choose, regardless of illness or injury.
- Friendly Visitor & Respite Support
- Check-ins by Phone
- Light Housekeeping
- Grocery Shopping
- Transportation Assistance
- Food Assistance (SNAP & Meals on Wheels)
- Durable Medical Equipment Lending
Additionally, TCHNetwork coordinates outreach events designed both to educate the community and reduce the stigma around talking about death and dying. Past events have included:
- The Dementia Experience, where community members were able to gain an understanding of potential symptoms of dementia through an interactive environment, and
- Advance Healthcare Directives training, where community members and medical providers were taught how to articulate the care the medical care they would want if they were unable to make decisions for themselves to their friends, family, and healthcare providers.
Through these programs, TCHNetwork hopes to aid all our community members as they age and to create an open dialogue to speak about the challenges that are faced in relation to aging. To learn more about these programs, please visit our website (www.tchnetwork.org) or call 970.708.7096.
-Ben Marshall, Palliative Support Services Program Coordinator