This discussion on the Swedish Optimal Aging program is brought to you by Swedish; all opinions are my own.

It’s hard to watch our parents and grandparents grow older. It seems every year they lose the ability to do something that once was second nature to them and much too soon, they’re no longer self-sufficient.

I remember well the day we understood that my grandmother was no longer the woman with an original spirit and stamina to spare that we knew. The woman who’d mined alongside her husband hoping to strike it rich, who raised six children, who canned what she grew in her garden to sustain her family through the winter, who crocheted beautiful gifts and made jewelry for family and friends, and the woman who bowled better than me even in her 90’s.

All that changed when she took a fall on a cold winter’s day in her driveway where she’d gone to wait for the Senior Center Bus to pick her up.  Grandma was a volunteer, and she loved to go to the center to take care of her “seniors.” We found this quite funny because she was in her 90’s! But the fall in her driveway left her bruised and battered, and she started having trouble remembering where she was and what she was supposed to do next. That was the last day that she lived independently.

My Grandma, Sadie (she passed away in 2011) - Swedish Optimal Aging: Vetted at Home Senior Care Services in Seattle #ad
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It’s always sad to have to tell a loved one that they’re no longer equipped to live alone. No one wants to give up their freedom and control over their lives, but it’s something that had to be done for her safety. We didn’t have many options for grandma’s care, and while we would have loved to have been able to keep her in her home, we reluctantly allowed her to be moved into a nursing home where they could manage her pain until we could find competent and caring home care for her. It crushed her spirits.

My grandmother is like a lot of seniors – she needed home care assistance, but her income was too high to qualify for subsidized care. While that’s a good thing, it also means we had to hire her caregivers and much like hiring childcare, it’s hard to know who to trust.

A simple phone call with the experts at Swedish Optimal Aging is all it takes to find out more and start the navigation and planning process. They’re happy to answer any questions you may have, refer you to free or paid services if you qualify, as well as offer an in-depth review of your current situation if you like at no charge. Call 844-295-7251 or visit http://www.swedish.org/services/optimal-aging

Swedish Medical Center is offering a new way to find senior care services in Seattle. Their Optimal Aging program is designed both for seniors who qualify for free or reduced services through government or non-profit agencies, as well as for those who don’t, but who want or need help to continue living independently. What the Swedish Optimal Aging program does is connect seniors and their families with qualified service providers in their community that have been vetted to take the guesswork out of hiring a provider. Every company that has been approved to work within the Optimal Aging program has been through a rigorous screening process. Additionally, each home care provider has been screened by their company to verify they have the skills and qualifications necessary and each has passed a background check and drug test.

The Cost & Benefits of Aging in Place

Aging in place is something the team at Swedish feels strongly about due to the health benefits as well as the cost savings it can provide. Allowing seniors to live in their home if they can safely has been found to have many health benefits. No longer are nursing homes and assisted living facilities the only way for senior citizens to get the daily care that they need. Now the elderly can age in place if they choose by hiring the services they need such as housekeeping, household repairs, transportation, personal care and much more delivered right in their home.

An evaluation of Missouri’s AIP program showed that participants had better outcomes in the areas of cognition, depression, activities, of daily living , and incontinence than those in nursing home care. This finding led Marek et al. to suggest that maintaining independence in one’s home contributes to more positive outcomes. These improved health outccomes can, in turn, lead to cost savings.  – U.S. Department of housing and Urban Development¹

While the cost of providing in-home service may seem steep, the price of aging in place can be less expensive than other options. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development put out an extensive periodical in 2013 in which it took up the issue of measuring the costs and savings of aging in place. It highlighted that the evidence suggests that aging in place support programs could yield savings for the government, health systems, and families. With the cost of assisted living in Seattle ranging from $80,000 to $200,000, it’s easy to see that services provided at home can certainly be more economical.

Aging in place also helps protect social connections. Social isolation is a major problem among the elderly, and relationships that are found in a community are important to maintain throughout life. Aging in place allows people to better maintain their social relationships. In a recent AARP survey, 41 percent of those who want to remain in their community stated that their primary reason for staying was their friends, followed by family, safety from crime, and a pleasant neighborhood/community. – U.S. Department of housing and Urban Development²

The benefits of allowing a senior citizen to live independently and age in place is something I think we all realize is important. None of us says to ourselves, “I can’t wait to move into a nursing home.”  It’s not that some don’t provide great care, it’s just that their care is not as personalized as the care that can be provided in your home.  Thankfully, Swedish saw the need to provide better in-home care for our senior citizen and they’re a leader in the Seattle area in making aging in place an option for more of our elders because let’s face it, we’re all going to want the same tailored care when we reach that stage in our lives as well.

Swedish Optimal Aging – Who We Are Video

Swedish Optimal Aging Services

The Swedish’s Optimal Aging Program has been working to remove the obstacles many families face when it comes to their aging parents. They’ve developed a list of vetted vendors that can help with your senior’s everyday needs. Services like Senior Chore Assistance to provide basic housekeeping, laundry, and errands. Or Personal Care Services to aid with bathing and dressing, and even provide pick-up service after medical procedures which require supervision, like a colonoscopy.

Senior transportation services can also be arranged including wheelchair and door-to-door assistance and Senior Home Maintenance and Handyman Services can provide basic repair and home modification as well as safety checks.

Worried mom or dad isn’t eating well? The Senior Meal Program can give qualified referrals for someone to help with grocery shopping, cooking, meal planning, nutritional support, and more. Plus keep your senior active in the community with the program’s Social Events which include community meals, holiday events, lectures, and group activities

Optimal Aging – The Gift of Independence

With services like the Optimal Aging program, you can ensure your elderly loved one maintains his or her independence and reaps the health benefits of remaining in their familiar surroundings.

Why is this important to me? Because of my mother, Sadie’s daughter. She’s seventy-eight years old and while her health is fair now, we both know that her ability to drive will be something she’ll likely lose soon and with the loss of her driving ability will go much of her independence. Knowing that there are safe services she can purchase for herself to maintain her independence is important to me. Even better, the knowledge that my siblings and I can give her the gift of household cleaning or home maintenance is priceless when we aren’t able to help out because of our work schedules or our own health issues.

My 78-year old mother - Swedish Optimal Aging provides safe in-home services so seniors can age in place - ad
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Do you have someone you love who would benefit from these types of aging in place services?  To start the navigation and planning process, simply call or go online to connect with the experts at Swedish Optimal Aging. 

About Swedish Medical Center

Swedish Medical Center is located in Washington State with Campuses in BallardCherry Hill EdmondsFirst HillIssaquahMill Creek, and Redmond and more than 30 primary care clinics as far away as Cle Elum and across the Sound in Kingston and Bainbridge Island, and up I-5 from Renton to Mill Creek with many in between.

Please visit www.swedish.org/services/optimalaging for complete program details

Also known as: Senior Services, Elder Services, Senior Resources, Senior Care, Homecare Services, Transportation, Senior Assistance, Eldercare, Aging, Geriatrics, Medicare


Sources:

  1. Marek, K. D., Popejoy, L., Petroski, G., Mehr, D., Rantz, M., & Lin, W.-C. (2005). Clinical Outcomes of Aging in Place. Nursing Research, 54(3), 202–211.
  2. Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2013, “Evidence Matters