Living independently for as long as possible is a common goal among older adults. A 2022 University of Michigan poll showed that 88% of adults aged 50 to 80 put a high priority on continuing to live in their own homes. While home care is appropriate for seniors who need help with tasks like bathing, dressing, and medication reminders, getting help doesn’t have to mean making a monumental change. A variety of other services offer assistance with day-to-day tasks, to relieve common burdens to aging in place.
Here are three types of services that can make life easier for seniors, so you can help your older loved one find the support that’s right for them.:
Grocery or Meal Delivery
Nutrition can be a challenge for seniors, who sometimes have difficulty getting to a grocery store or planning and preparing meals. Grocery or meal delivery can make it easier for them to get the balanced meals they need to help them stay healthy. Many grocery stores and shopping services (think Instacart or Amazon) now offer delivery for seniors who are comfortable using mobile apps. Other meal delivery services include Meals on Wheels or, for older adults living in San Francisco, Seniors At Home’s Kosher Meals on Wheels, which can provide meal delivery up to five times a week.
Having access to safe and affordable transportation helps seniors stay connected with their families, friends, and community—which is essential to their mental health and well-being. Senior shuttles, volunteer ride services, and public transportation for seniors can help your older loved one make visits, meet up with social organizations, and accomplish errands, all of which will help them maintain their independence. Two Bay Area resources: the JFCS Rides program and the United Way’s 2-1-1 service, which offers a searchable database of senior transportation options.
Pets offer seniors companionship and a sense of responsibility and purpose, but taking care of them can prove challenging for older adults. Seniors who need assistance with their pets might consider water dispensers and automatic feeders, which reduce the frequency with which a pet owner needs to refresh their pet’s water and food. Veterinarians are increasingly offering house calls, which come in handy for older adults who don’t drive. And for seniors facing mobility issues, pet walking services offered through Rover.com or Care.com can be extremely helpful.
Whatever the particular need, there’s a solution available to address it. It’s prudent to be on the lookout for signs that your older loved one could, at some point, benefit from a professional caregiver, but for people who don’t need a high level of personal care, these incremental solutions can make day-to-day life just a little more manageable.