Right now, more than ever before, individuals are seeking ways to remain in there homes as they grow older. According to the NAHB, (The National Association of Home Builders), 75% of remodelers have reported an increase in inquiries related to age-in-place remodeling. This is no surprise being that AARP reports that 90% of seniors have reported wishing to age in place as opposed to moving to some form of a long term care facility. Thanks to modern technology and growing services, it is more possible than ever before to age-in-place. Most of the features that seniors are currently concerned about in their homes are items that are not standard and need modification. The most common issues, according to AARP, are non-skid floors, grab bars in the bathroom, a personal alert system, a stair-free entrance, and wider doorways (in that order). Of those that have chosen to remodel their homes to add these features, 70% reported they did so for safety reasons. Some other reasons reported for making these changes included making their home environment easier to use for all family members, being able to live more independently, and for the ability to adapt to the changing needs of family members. As previously stated, there are ever-rising services and technological advances to increase the ability of individuals to age-in-place. But what are the steps one should take to pro-actively prepare for successful aging in place?
Some important steps, in addition to addressing your home environment needs, are addressing your physical and health-related concerns. Cognitive decline, such as dementia, is a leading cause of individuals having to leave their home and enter long-term care facilities. Having a visit with your physician to get baseline cognitive testing done is a good idea. Early intervention for cognitive decline is recommended and the only way to know if you need intervention is to be properly assessed. Another common reason individuals leave their home is because of injuries related to frequent falling. Skilled services like Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy to re-train balance and strategize new ways of doing daily tasks to minimize your risk is key. Age-related changes to strength and balance decline is absolutely treatable. As far as your home environment, a thorough assessment of your home and clinical assessment of your current abilities in your home is also essential. We have all heard of ADA compliance with standardized procedures to make areas accessible for all- but this is not required in residential properties, and moreover, not always appropriate in the residential setting. Those with dementia, for example, may not be able to learn a new way of getting up from the toilet and so, placement of a grab bar may be in a different area than what ADA would normally suggest. ADA requirements are aimed at accessibility for all, but in your home, that is likely “over-kill” and much more expensive of a renovation than you actually need.
As for technology, until we all have personal robots attending our every need (which is certainly coming), we will have to settle for our monitoring devices, medication dispensers, and GPS shoes…and really, that’s not such a bad deal. Besides, have you seen those robots? They are a little creepy! The point is, having a specialist help with knowing what technology, home modifications, and services are right for you is within reach. The possibilities are endless. With the rise of aging in place services in our communities, we are finally starting to see proactive solutions instead of just being reactive. Do you want to age-in-place? What steps are you taking today to do so successfully?
Aging in Place Specialists offers Outpatient Physical Therapy in-home as well as Professional Home Modification Services. Call today to speak to a specialist or visit our website at www.aginginplacede.com to learn more.