In the first post of this series, why is everyone talking about aging in place? We defined aging in place as the ability to live in our home and our community as we age.
In recent years, the demand to age in place has created a booming market for in-home care services. There are a variety of care services available to consumers ranging from need base to hospice care. As we make the decision to age in place, it is feasible that we may require some if not all of these services over time.
Unfortunately planning only for our medical needs is not enough
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services senior policy analyst James Toews, many of us enter long-term care prematurely due to our homes inefficiency to meet our physical needs.
Health care often dominates the aging conversation. And while we should always invest and plan for our future medical attention and needs it is just as important (if not more) to plan for our homes ability to adapt to our changing needs.
Planning for our future housing needs
Home is a highly personal decision, and ultimately we want to find a home that best suits our needs and lifestyles. But what if we are already living in the home we want to stay?
Then we should create a space that will ensure our ability to grow and age there. Luckily there are ways we can adapt our homes to suit our changing needs and many in the home renovation industry have already started adopting principals of universal design in their projects.
Where should we start in a home remodel?
The main bedroom, the bathroom, and the kitchen are great places to start when you begin considering an aging in place remodel.
For example, in a double story home, the master bedroom is typically found on the upper level. Moving the bedroom to the first floor saves us from having to climb all of those stairs. Bathrooms are safest with non-slip flooring and no step in showers. And kitchens have too many high and low places. Lowering cabinets and raising appliances can save us the strain of reaching and bending for those out of reach items.
Aging in place on a budget
Understandably, we can not all afford a full scale remodel on our homes. But there are several cost-effective ways we can make our homes more age-friendly:
- Install grab rails in the bathrooms
- bring high shelf items down to lower levels
- resecure loose carpeting
- add more lighting throughout the home
- add more seating areas around the home
For more on in-home remodeling ideas or other senior living alternatives, read 5 Senior Living Alternatives: Finding a Home that Fits your Lifestyle.