How to help your elderly loved ones age in place

The Local Office on Aging has tools to help you and your family

ROANOKE, Va. – Independence — it’s something many people cling to, especially once they get older.

“I wanna have my own choice. I wanna live where I wanna live. And I want it to be as comfortable for me as I could, and sometimes it’s possible and sometimes it’s not,” Local Office on Aging CEO Ron Boyd said.

Ron Boyd is the CEO of the Local Office on Aging — with the mission of helping older people remain independent for as long as possible.

He tells us losing that sense of independence can be heartbreaking.

“To be taken out of that can have detrimental effects, they want to be in their neighborhood,” Boyd said.

Several housing factors can keep someone from aging in place.

“If it’s not a ranch style which is kind of the preferred. If they end up in a walker or wheelchair,” he said.

Another roadblock? Access to transportation. And that can lead to bigger issues.

“If they can no longer drive, if they can’t keep up their vehicle. If they don’t follow up on their medical care, then that’s going to create a downward spiral,” he said.

But Boyd tells us they work to address the transportation gap.

“Transportation can be the only people some people need. Sometimes they just need to be connected. Sometimes the answer is in the faith community and in their church,” he said.

But as much as they want to help people stay where they are, it isn’t always possible.

Boyd explains when it’s time to have a conversation with your loved one and look at other options.

“If they’re forgetting, if they’re not taking their medication, if they can no longer drive, if they’re more socially isolated than ever, if there are signs of depression, if they forget to turn the eye of the stove off — kind of danger signals,” he said.

Boyd tells me when that’s the case — a nursing home isn’t the only option, but it can still be difficult. That’s why he says the local office on aging is there to help.

“There’s more options than we’ve had before, but it’s a difficult conversation,” he said.

Resources for caregivers can be found here.

Full services through the Local Office on Aging can be found here.

About the Author

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.

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