Top 10 Home Improvements for Aging in Place

aging-in-place-improvements

When you think of your golden years, do you imagine spending them in your own home? You’re not alone. 78% of those aged 50-64 said they want to live in their own residence as long as possible, according to a June 2012 AARP report. But mobility and health issues can make that option difficult for some seniors. Staying in your own home as you age takes planning and help, but the rewards are many. Whether you live alone or with a spouse, aging in place keeps you closer to family, maintains your independence and connects you to your community. And, it costs less in the long run.

Less Cost and Better Quality of Life

While there are certainly costs involved in equipping your home to meet your needs as you age, those costs are much smaller than assisted living or nursing home care fees, which average about $50,000 per year. And even if you want to enter into an assisted living facility or a nursing home, it’s not always immediately possible, given the shortage of quality caregivers in long-term care and the rising population of seniors who need their services. In 2011, the first wave of baby boomers reached retirement age. Every day, 10,000 more baby boomers turn 65. For some, aging in place is not just a choice, but a necessity.

Planning for Your Golden Years at Home

The first step toward making sure you can age in place is to think about how your home can accommodate your needs and those of your spouse — both now and in the future. A good idea is to meet with an occupational therapist (OT) who specializes in geriatrics to discuss specific improvements you’ll need for your home. Geriatric OTs are trained to evaluate your mobility and capabilities and make recommendations for improvements that can make your home life much easier. Then, with your doctor, consider your overall health and the potential for further complications from diseases (such as diabetes) which can impact mobility later in life.

10 Things You Can Do Now

These are the most common and easiest home improvements you can make now to adapt your home for senior living.

  1. Accessibility – Does your home have at least one entryway that does not have stairs? Ramps and stairlifts make homes easier to stay in as mobility declines. Also, add grab bars to stairs, tubs and showers.

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