In the past, someone who needed a little help with their daily life in old age often had to solely rely on a retirement home. Today, many seniors are choosing to “age in place” – simply stay in their home and remain independent for as long as they possibly can. In fact, more than 60 percent of seniors say they’d rather grow old in their home than in an assisted living facility or with family.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways life can be a little easier for seniors aging in place that you might not be aware of. Here’s a look at a few services that can help people deal with some of the more challenging parts of growing old.
The List: Services for Aging in Place
Having someone take care of cleaning around the house can not only take a lot of stress away from someone aging in place, but it can actually make their home a safer place to live (since clutter is a leading cause of senior falls). Cleaning services won’t do things like laundry or cooking, but they will make sure your loved one has a clean space where they can do these things on their own.
Popular Nationwide House Cleaning Services
- Merry Maids – Custom pricing
- Molly Maid – Standard and Custom pricing
- Maid Brigade – Custom pricing
Home Advisor estimates that professional maid service averages between $50 and $100 per hour, and often includes multiple cleaners. National cleaning services like Merry Maids offer dependable, background checked workers you can trust and will develop a specific plan for your house with guaranteed satisfaction. In addition to getting the house clean, many seniors actually find they enjoy the company of a cleaner for the time they’re around and look forward to their weekly visits.
Depending on where your loved one lives, it may be possible to have their groceries sent directly to their door. This can be perfect for people who still want to cook and eat the food they like but can’t get out to shop or find shopping too tiring.
Popular Nationwide Grocery Delivery
- Walmart Online Grocery – Free shipping on orders over $50
- Safeway – $9.95 delivery on orders $150 or more
- Peapod – $6.95 delivery on orders $100 or more
Shoppers just add items to an online cart using an app or website, place the order, and wait for their delivery. Many grocery stores offer their own delivery service, but shopping services like Instacart deliver from almost any grocery store for a small fee ($5.99 for a one time delivery or $149 for a year of deliveries). In locations where actual delivery isn’t available, many Wal-Mart stores offer online grocery shopping for no extra charge at all. Shoppers just choose their items online, pay for their order, then drive to the store where their groceries are placed in their car by an employee.
Beyond grocery delivery, there are services that can help specifically with meals. Many seniors don’t have the ability or energy to cook on their own, which is where meal delivery services come in.
When most people think of meal delivery, the classic Meals on Wheels comes to mind. That’s certainly an option, but there are other companies as well. Silver Cuisine is another nationwide meal delivery service that costs around $7 per meal (about the same price as Meals on Wheels).
Popular Meal Delivery Services
- Silver Cuisine – $5-$20 depending on meal. $19.95 shipping
- UberEATS – $4.99 delivery fee per order
- GrubHub – Average of 13.5% commission per order
There are also meal companies that don’t specifically cater to seniors. If an individual receiving the meals is comfortable doing basic cooking, services like BlueApron or HelloFresh can delivery packaged ingredients that are measured out and come with basic instructions anyone can follow.
Having the talk about taking away the keys from an older driver isn’t easy to do. In fact, 40 percent of people said they’d rather discuss funeral plans than talk to their senior parents about not driving. But it’s undeniable that driving at an older age brings a lot of risks. That’s why many seniors turn to transportation services. Thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever for seniors to get around.
For doctor visits, if a senior has Medicaid, it will cover transportation to and from non-emergency appointments in most states. Organizations like churches and senior centers also often offer no-cost transportation as well. But for trips around town or trips to visit family, ride services like Uber and Lyft are becoming increasingly popular with seniors. There are even senior-specific rideshare services for those with disabilities or that don’t want to mess with the hassle of setting up an account.
Popular Ride Share Services
- Uber – Around $0.90-$2.35 per mile
- Lyft – Around $0.90-$3.50 per mile
- GoGoGrandparent – $0.27/per minute, plus cost of ride (Lyft or Uber)
Technology can be scary for seniors, but these services have very user-friendly apps. Users just open the app (or even visit the website if a smartphone isn’t available), select where the rider will be picked up, and then enter their destination.
Companies like GoGoGrandparent even schedule your Uber or Lyft ride for you, so you don’t have to mess with setting up an account and scheduling rides yourself. Simply call their phone number and let them know when and where you’re headed.
Prices vary depending on the time of day and how busy the service is, but the average cost of a ride share is about $1 a mile, a lot cheaper than a taxi.
Emergency alert services
Every year, over three million seniors are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. With a senior living on their own, a fall can be especially troublesome. That’s why an emergency medical alert service can be the single most important thing to buy for someone aging in place.
Popular Emergency Alert Services
- Medical Guardian – Starts at $29/month
- Bay Alarm Medical – Starts at $19.95/month
- Philips Lifeline – Starts at $29/month
These services consist of a small wearable device and base that allow seniors to call for help at the push of a button. The cost is around $25 to $50 a month depending on which model you choose (one that’s home-based or one that can be taken on the go) and what features you add. They usually come in necklace or bracelet form and come in fashionable designs that don’t look “medical” at all. Some operate on a cellular connection while some need a landline, so there are options for every situation.
Bay Alarm Medical, Life Alert, Medical Guardian, and Philips Lifeline are some of the most popular medical alert systems today, but there are several more brands on the market, each with their own advantages. Take some time to shop around and find the one that best fits your situation.
If there’s one thing that doesn’t really change with age, it’s that bills still have to be paid. And for many seniors, paying bills in person is a big part of their weekly routine. They like the satisfaction of seeing someone eye to eye when it comes to money. But age can make paying bills tricky. Simply getting out of the house isn’t always easy, and a lost receipt can make it hard to remember if a bill was paid.
Banking online has a number of great advantages, but it’s especially useful for seniors. Almost every bill today can be paid online or automatically drafted, but if that notion seems a little scary (as it is for many seniors), most major banks today even offer free “check writing” services. Users just enter the amount of the check and the address it’s going to, and a physical check is mailed out (with the user’s account information to make sure it’s applied properly).
For many seniors, aging in place is all about keeping their independence. Because of that, they might be a little hesitant to embrace services like these because of the notion that they have to rely on someone else for help. But all the services listed here are ones that many people use today simply for convenience – so there’s no stigma about “relying” on them.
If you’re planning to age in place or you’re helping a loved one who is, try using one of these services to make life a little easier.