As we grow older, living out your senior years at home with minimal assistance is referred to as “aging in place”. Three out of four adults age 50 and older want to stay in their homes and communities as they age, according to a recent AARP study. The study also says 77% of those surveyed would like to live in their community for as long as possible.
Above all, benefits to aging in place offers adults autonomy and independence they might not otherwise experience. Financially, the cost of care at home can be lower than in a nursing facility. There are a couple of ways of accomplishing aging in place, read on to find out how you or your loved ones can make this transition smoother!
Planning for the future
The first logical step in this transition is to plan ahead. Firstly, consider how our bodies usually change and the effect that has on our interaction with the surroundings and home environment. Changes can include:
- Reduced hearing
- Worsening vision
- Increased risk for illness
- Memory loss
- Decreased strength leading to balance issues, falls and a decrease in mobility
- Chronic conditions, like arthritis and osteoporosis
Other topics of consideration
When we take into consideration the physical constraints that aging might put on us, consequently we can begin to analyze situations that might arise. To begin, think about the kinds of help you might want. Do you or does your loved one live alone? Do you have someone that can help you? Consider any illness you might have and what additional care that may require in the future.
In the planning process, think about your current home and it’s the layout. Do you have a second or third story? Does the bathtub pose a challenge to enter and exit safely? Are there potential slip and fall hazards? Planning can provide ample time to address these concerns over a much longer period of time.
It’s possible to make home renovations provide aging in place assistance. Making modifications can be costly, such as remodeling a bathroom, installing a walk-in shower, widening doorways and hallways for wheelchairs and walkers, and replacing stairs with ramps. A more cost-effective (although long-term) solution for promoting aging-friendly housing is to ensure that new construction homes include accessible features and are designed with future modifications in mind.
Our Forestridge luxury twin homes have been built with aging in place features, including low profile master showers with grab bars, wide doorways, extremely efficient insulation, and included yard maintenance. There are high-end details that set our homes apart, such as granite countertops, on-demand water heaters, and heated master bath floors.
Aging in place considerations
Thinking about the future, if staying in your home or relocating to your future home is important to you or your loved one, consider the following items. Researching and being prepared in advance is key!
Are there modifications that could be made to your home to make it easier to live in? Items to consider include exterior ramps, grab bars in the bathroom, and insulation improvements. If you own a home with multiple stories, consider how difficult accessing a second floor or basement level may be in the future.
Safety should always be of utmost importance, including neighborhood crime, potential scams, and situations of abuse. Your local Area Agency on Aging can provide information regarding safety. When it comes to illness and slip and fall concerns, an emergency alert system is worth considering. If you or if you’re a caregiver of a loved one who might need help at home during the day, adult day care is sometimes available. There may also be organizations that provide care overnight.
Keeping a variety of hobbies and maintaining friendships should be considered when thinking about aging-in-place. Contact one of our local agencies to get more information on meeting new people or getting weekly visits from volunteers!
Resources for aging-in-place information
In general, local agencies can provide information on many of the following services. If you or the person you care for is in the Great Lakes Bay Region, they can contact our local Agency on Aging. Their goals are “to advocate, plan, develop, and support a comprehensive system of quality care and services designed to achieve the optimum level of health, well-being, and independence of people as they age. Area Agencies on Aging were established as an amendment to the 1965 Older Americans Act.” This organization serves those aged 60 and older.
Additionally, Senior Services, a private non-profit organization, is located in Midland County. Their mission is to “promote and enrich the quality of life for older adults and those who care for them by collaboratively providing meaningful services and opportunities.” This organization provides the following services for our elderly:
- Care Coordination
- Education & Enrichment
- Health & Fitness
- Health Benefit Assistance
- Help for Caregivers
- Home Care
- Meals on Wheels
- Memory Support
- Support Groups
Aging in place home details
Make your home safe and accessible or consider relocating to a home that will allow you to easily transition as you age and make it safer to live independently.
- Install grab bars in the shower and near toilets.
- Don’t use area rugs and make sure all carpet is firmly attached to the floor.
- Place non-skid mats on tile and wood floors.
- Replace handles on doors and faucets with ones that are comfortable and easy to use.
- Place light switches at the top and bottom of stairs and use night lights.
- Make sure that cords are tucked out of walkways.
Consider smart home technology to help with aging in place. Sensors that automatically turn on lights, control climate, detect fires and check for carbon dioxide/monoxide can provide great benefit. Systems can also provide caregivers opportunities for “remote activity monitoring”, that for example, can alert a family member if an exterior door opens during certain hours.
If you are considering aging in place for yourself or a loved one, plan early. If your current home isn’t suitable, we can help you decide if Forestridge is a good fit for you. The rendering of our twin homes below can give you a great feel for the space. To get more details, check out our website or contact us.
Other Aging in Place Resources
NIH: National Institute on Aging
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