May 2, 2019 by Stephanie Howe - Owner, Comfort Keepers
For most of us, the body starts to slow down sometime between 30 and 40 and it never really stops. By the time you hit retirement age, you've probably begun to really appreciate opportunities to get off your feet and have started prioritizing energetic tasks for when you're feeling your best.
While some people remain vigorous and physically active well into their 80s and beyond, a great many retirees find themselves less and less able to take care of strenuous or exhausting tasks. When this happens, the natural solution is to hire in-home care, at least for a few hours a day to help keep up with chores and keep you company while younger family members are off living their lives.
But what if you didn't plan on needing in-home care? Most people plan their entire retirements out decades in advance including budget and lifestyle easily forget some of the less talked about details of old age, including nursing homes, personal care, Medicare, Medicaid, skilled nursing, health insurance and so much more.
Others may well have planned for more but circumstances changed and money is tighter than they predicted. In either case, the good news is that you don't have to rely on the spare time of your entire family for in-home supportive services if you're willing to get resourceful with modern opportunities. The sharing economy allows anyone, no matter what age, to trade what they have and aren't using to obtain personal care services and home health care.
Here are some non-medical, easy to do Shared Economy solutions to help obtain eldercare for your elderly parents and loved ones:
Many retirees looking to age in place have a home big enough for a busy family, but their adult children have moved away and bought homes of their own. This means that you may have plenty of spare rooms to host one large or several small Airbnb listings.
If you haven't heard of Airbnb, it is almost exactly what it sounds like. People with spare bedrooms and homes make listings and rent out nights like hotel rooms.
All you need to do is keep the rooms decorated and nice and stock a supply of hotel soaps. Light Housekeeping and maintenance is easy and a relative might be willing to assist you in setting up and decorating the space to start with.
If you live in an urban area where parking is tight but have an extra parking space available either on the street, in the driveway, or in your garage, you can actually rent it out through the sharing economy. The care needs and upkeep of a parking space are even fewer than the maintenance requirements than an Airbnb, so nice people visiting loved ones or traveling for work who need a guaranteed safe and legal place to park can book your spot for anywhere from an hour to a week. This is a great way to collect some additional income often without even needing to speak to your guests.
For seniors who already have a dog or a cat, there are many pet owners who turn to the sharing economy to take care of their furry friends when they have to go on vacation or a business trip. Compared to kennelling services, sending your pet to 'camp' in another pet-friendly home allows them to make friends, roam, and play instead of spending all weekend in a crate. It's easy to believe that pet parents would be more than happy to pay for this service with the same budget they would have spent on kennelling. The companionship and the meal preparation are easy to upkeep and also provide enhancements to the pet sitter's daily living.
Once your sharing economy income starts to generate if you choose to hire an in-home caregiver, be sure to talk to them about also being a part of your sharing economy hobbies. Caregivers are already experts at things such as meal preparation, medication reminders, light housekeeping, companion care, and Alzheimer's and Dementia Care. They're very familiar with most care services programs and assistance services for both short-term care and long term care. The experience they obtain with a qualified home care agency gives them insight that is invaluable.
You could re-decorate your Airbnb suite together, think of fun activities for visiting pets, or even start getting creative with the favor economy where neighbors swap favors for cash and bartering all the time from lawnmower trades to batches of homemade pies. Not only is the sharing economy a great way to pay for in-home care, it's also a fantastic source of activity and socialization.
We at Comfort Keepers understand that affording senior care services can be difficult for some. That is why we also offer planning and funding services on our website. For more interesting tips on how to rock your retirement years with in-home care, contact us today at 732-521-1777.
Note: This article has been updated with new information!