When you moved out of the family home and set off on your own, your mother likely went through a mix of worry and excitement for you. Your challenges were new, and you were bound to make some mistakes on your way to figuring out adulthood. Now that she’s living alone and facing the challenges of later life, you’re likely going through your own worries, especially if you’re unable to act as a regular caregiver to support her independence.
It’s critical that your mother is safe and supported while aging in place. But that alone isn’t enough; she also needs heart-warming company, energizing activity, and chances to achieve her goals during this unique time of life. So, how can you find the best of the resources the SF Bay Area has to offer for your elderly mother living alone? How can you find solutions to your worries and turn your attention to the excitement for what’s to come as your mom faces a new life phase full of possibilities?
The Value of Older Adults Aging in Place
The primary benefit of aging in place is a very personal and emotional one for the many seniors who choose to remain in their homes for as long as possible: here, they can maintain their independence. Your parent can continue to make choices and feel in control of her days and the broader arc of her life. This enduring independence doesn’t necessarily mean she does everything on her own without help, but it does mean that she can continue to live the life she has worked hard to create for herself. She will likely be going through many changes into the later years of her life, and aging in place means one less transition as she remains surrounded by what is familiar and full of memories.
Beyond the advantages of independence, a senior who ages in place can also stay connected with the San Francisco area community she has long known, leaned on, and given back to. Remaining at home may also be the best financial option for your mother, even if she does require occasional in-home assistance; residential care facilities can be prohibitively expensive and go beyond what your aging parent actually needs.
Finding the Best Bay Area Resources for Your Elderly Mother Living Alone
Next to the benefits of seniors being able to live and age independently, there are real physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual risks possible when an older adult lives in isolation. But it is possible for your mother to live alone without being unsupported or lonely. In San Francisco and around the Bay Area, there are myriad resources developed expressly for aging adults. And there are valuable connections and support systems throughout our Bay Area communities that can offer your mother well-rounded assistance and enrichment in the following ways:
- Home safety and security mean that your mother’s home is protected from the outside, but it also means that she is safe navigating the environment inside. You can look into virtual security systems that warn of any intrusion. You can also consider IoT sensors if she is at risk of falls or would benefit from frequent monitoring of vital signs and home environment conditions. But, first, it’s a good idea to schedule a home safety evaluation so you can get expert advice on ways to improve your mother’s home landscape to minimize hazards and maximize accessibility.
- Grocery and meal assistance can go a long way if it is challenging for your mother to make it to the store and manage a load of groceries on her own or if she has limitations that interfere with food prep. There are a number of easy options for scheduling grocery deliveries in San Francisco and around the Bay Area, and many of these options include fresh local products. You can work together at first to explore the online marketplaces, and then once she’s comfortable, it may be one more task she’ll be able to complete herself. She can also benefit from meal delivery services, which can be a particular advantage if food prep and adequate nutrition are challenging and for low-income seniors.
- Medical care and assistance are available for your aging mother right at home for both primary and specialty care needs. An organization like Institute on Aging can offer all-inclusive health care services for seniors and help make healthy aging in place feasible and convenient. IOA provides these integrated programs to seniors throughout the SF Bay Area.
- Access to help and support when needed is critical if your elderly mother is living alone. If she already has a strong support system in her neighborhood community, then aging in place is actually an important tenet to her independent well-being. However, it’s a good idea to proactively scope out additional support systems, especially as she may need progressive and specialized attention as time goes on. Similar to the inclusive health care services, there are home care specialists who can visit your mother’s home and design a care plan that fits her needs exactly. Offering everything from transportation to meal prep to overnight care and friendly companionship, these services can evolve with your parent and leave space for the valuable opportunities for independence in between.
- Social and emotional fulfillment is just as important to the logistical and safety concerns to ensure that your mother has the best quality of life possible. If she is still very independent throughout the day or if she already has a caregiver to assist and accompany her, there are exciting and accessible ways to make friends in San Francisco through organized social groups, local senior centers, and group fitness classes throughout the Bay Area. Another great way for your mother to make close and fulfilling connections is through a Social Day Program like the one at Institute on Aging. The priority is to foster socialization and personal enrichment, but it can also provide reliable support for seniors who need assistance, including with personal care, transportation, and meals and nutrition.
There is every reason your mother can live and thrive at home—once you help her get connected with the supportive and compassionate resources available right here in the Bay Area. Of course, technology also offers incredible tools and resources to help seniors adjust to independent living even as their needs change with age. But human connections will always be critically important. With a collection of local resources, you can help your mom to stay healthy, active, and in touch with new discoveries to keep her smiling and growing even into her later years.
Institute on Aging offers a thoughtful range of programs, services, and resources for older adults, caregivers, and families. Contact us to learn more about how we can strengthen the web of support and positivity around your elderly mother living alone.