Aging in Place
The term “aging in place” means different things to different people. For some it means you live or stay in the home or community where you currently reside. Others may use it as a way to explain the benefits of living in an inclusive retirement community. The National Association of Home Builders define aging in place as “remaining in one’s home safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level.”
Should I stay or should I go? Modifying your home for senior living
Simple home modifications can include adaptation to a home that makes it easier and safer to manage activities of daily living. These changes can include adding or removing simple features of the home with low to moderate cost. They could also be simple purchased items that could make independent living acceptable.
Why modify your home?
When a home is modified, it promotes independence. This independence allows the occupant to live a longer, healthier life. People like to live where they have familiar items around them. They like to be where memories were made and don’t really want to leave their homes and familiar surroundings.
Modifying your home to increase safety and prevent falls
Safety is another reason to make simple home modifications. By adding a grab bar or removing a few throw rugs, you can decrease the chances of a person falling.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2000, direct medical costs of falls totaled slightly more than $19 billion, including $179 million for fatal falls. This equals $28.2 billion in 2010 dollars.
How much will it cost?
Cost can be a significant factor when considering home modifications. Even simple home modifications can range from inexpensive to more costly, depending upon the changes needed. For example, placing a chair at the end of a hallway is simple and inexpensive. Adding a handrail along the length of a hallway is a simple modification that might cost a little more if you need to hire someone to do the work.
Assessing your home before you modify
Before home modifications can be made, an assessment of the home needs to be taken. The assessment is fairly easy to do, working one room at a time. In each room, ask what adjustments should be made to the room to make the space safer and more accessible. Assessing the rooms individually will keep the task from becoming overwhelming.
As rooms are assessed, recognize that the less you have in a room, the safer your home environments become. By removing items from the home, a safer, friendlier environment results.
Extension can help you assess your options
Approximately 90% of older adults state that their preference is to remain in their home as long as possible. That is always “Plan A”. But what happens when Plan A no longer works for you? Contact me, Denise Dias here at the Extension office, 913-715-7000 or Denise.Dias@jocogov.org, and I can help you sort through your options.
Or, check out our workshop Navigating the Maze: Housing Options for Seniors to be held on January 13.