Some Seniors are Happy to Stay Home: An Opportunity for Aging in PlaceMay 07, 2021 03:06PM ● By HOLLY HAMILTON
Long before the coronavirus pandemic, more than 90 percent of older Americans expressed a desire to remain in their homes as they age. Now, more than ever, older adults are looking for solutions to aging at home.
For healthy and independent seniors who wish to stay at home as they get older, Senior Choice at Home is an alternative to moving to a retirement community. Licensed by the state of Florida as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) “without walls,” Senior Choice at Home is a membership-based program that provides long-term care and personal concierge services for older adults, enabling them to live independently at home. It also offers the assurance that future living arrangements away from home that might become necessary are covered under their membership.
Thousands of seniors across the country have opted to receive continuing care at home, including Dr. Ellen and Michael Feingold of Sanibel. For the past 20 years, Ellen, a physician, worked in her private homeopathic-medicine practice in Wilmington, Delaware, then retired to Sanibel three years ago. Michael manages financial investments of all kinds, from which he plans never to retire.
The active couple bike and swim together every day that weather permits. They are both 78 years old, in good health and hope to age gracefully. While independent living and continuing-care communities for seniors appeal to many people, they didn’t think it was right for them. They wanted to remain in their home, but realize as they age that they may one day need help.
“We wanted to age at home on Sanibel Island, and Senior Choice at Home gave us that option,” Ellen says. “It’s one of the best choices we ever made to secure our future.”
Since becoming members, they’ve had Senior Choice at Home’s concierge care coordinator conduct a home assessment to make sure that their house is set up to accommodate them as they get older. The care coordinator also set up an electronic reporting system that will allow them to call for help with the push of a button.
When COVID-19 hit the U.S., seniors were quickly identified as among the most vulnerable, and that’s when the Feingolds and other members experienced the benefits of Senior Choice at Home firsthand.
“Our care coordinator called us routinely to check in,” Ellen says. “With COVID-19 cases hitting senior-living communities especially hard, we are fortunate that we made the right choice to stay at home. We don’t feel isolated, as we are more in touch with family than we’ve ever been. We have family Zoom calls once a week.”
When it came time to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Senior Choice at Home members were among the first seniors in the area to be scheduled.
Michael was especially pleased with the service’s proactive response. “Our Senior Choice at Home personal care coordinator called and scheduled our appointment for our first and second vaccines,” Michael says. “It’s nice to know we have the vaccine, regardless of what we see about difficulties getting it on the news. Our membership has brought us peace of mind throughout the pandemic.”
While the Feingolds have continued to enjoy good health and are independent at home, members who experience a healthcare incident such as a fall or surgery can tap into the benefits of membership to help them get back on their feet.
“When a member needs medical attention, our care coordinators are at their side, helping them to navigate through the health-care journey,” says Andrea Sieradzki, area sales and marketing director for Volunteers of America, the sponsor organization of Senior Choice at Home. “Their needs may range from a short stay in skilled nursing for rehabilitation or support from home health aides who can assist with bathing, grocery shopping, cooking or other tasks. The greatest value is peace of mind knowing these services are covered under the Senior Choice at Home membership. As health-care costs increase, our members appreciate that their assets are protected from rising costs.”
Michael Feingold sums up the benefits of aging a home best: “It’s really the best of both worlds—living at home with peace of mind for the future.”
Holly Hamilton is a Southwest Florida-based storyteller focusing on people, places and partnerships.