Now more than ever, we’re seeing adults choose to live independently at home as they age, or what is known as aging in place. This helps maintain their lifestyle for as long as possible, rather than moving into an Assisted Living Facility (ALF) or Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). In fact, three-quarters of adults 50 years and older would prefer to remain in their homes as they age, according to a survey by AARP. Though many of us won’t be able to live independently forever, home modifications will allow your or your loved ones to continue to live in their home longer by creating a more manageable environment. Whether they’re living in a condo in Bellevue, WA or a tri-level home in Kent, WA, there are alterations that can be made to any home to simplify daily tasks.
As we age our bodies and capabilities change, and not all homes are designed to support these changes. Often, doorways are too narrow, bathrooms too small, floors too slippery, and kitchen cabinets too high to reach. For aging adults, a home designed for optimal accessibility, convenience, and safety is imperative to avoid falls or serious injuries.
Optimizing a home for safe and comfortable living while creating a home environment that makes getting around easier is essential for aging in place. That’s why we’ve gathered the most common home modifications, from simple adjustments to larger remodeling projects.
While in the end, it is generally less expensive to age in place as opposed to living in a senior living community, the upfront costs for a remodel can add up. Luckily there are resources and programs available, such as home improvement grants, equipment loans, and low-interest loans.
You should also consider researching programs like Medicare Advantage, Non-Medicaid Government assistance and Medicaid HCBS Waivers, Veterans programs, and non-profit organizations for financial help. As you’re crunching the numbers, it’s important to remember that the cost associated with home modifications has two components: the labor cost and the materials cost. Oftentimes, the cost of labor for installing the equipment will not be covered by insurance. Also, consider a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) in the past referred to as a “reverse mortgage” as a viable way to use the equity in your home to pay for remodeling (and in home care).
Forming a support system for your loved one is a big part of aging in place. Besides the support from family members, it’s a good idea to consider senior care, in home care and other services for your aging parent. There is a network of services available, including meal delivery, nurses, transportation, and house cleaning services. Just call us and we’d love to refer you to trusted partners.
In-home care services are also offered at various levels depending on the situation. On days when you’re unavailable, an elder companion could spend time with your loved one to prevent social isolation, maybe playing cards, reading, or talking with them. In-home caregivers can provide help with day-to-day activities like cooking, grooming, or shopping, while also making sure your loved one is safe in their home.
Assistive technology solutions, smart home features, and tech gadgets can be used to help simplify everyday tasks, promote independence, and stay safe while aging in place. There are many devices, like medical alert devices to signal for help, assistive seating devices to lift your loved one into the standing position, and smart bulbs that can be controlled remotely.
August 20, 2020 by Julia Weaver
Individual results may vary.
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This is not medical advice.
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