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According to AARP, 89% of seniors would prefer to live at home, or “age in place”, compared to living in an assisted living facility. If you were to personally ask each senior individually, I think you would find that almost all of them would say they would prefer to age in place rather then relocate to an assisted or independent living facility. There has been a growing trend of state of the art independent and assisted living facilities being built at rapid rates throughout the country. Despite this growth, seniors still would prefer to age in the comfort of their own home or with their family members. Before making decisions about placement and living locations, it is vital to evaluate all the needs of the senior or loved one, and make sure that where ever they decide to live their needs are fully met. Lets take a look below at the common assessments of the living facility, how to retrofit your home for senior living,costs to retrofit your home for senior living vs assisted living facilities, and caregivers or family members.
Assisted living facilities have already been retrofitted or designed to be accessible, easy to use and safe for seniors. They include ramps and wheelchair accessible doorways, elevators, grab bars in the bathroom, caregivers, and meals cooked for them in the cafe or dining area. Standard homes often lack the accessibility and safety features needed to make it an adequate living location for seniors or elderly. Below you will find the common assessments that should be made to make your home safe and accessible for seniors to age in place:
-Doorways into/out of the house or garage should be wheelchair accessible. This can be done through the use of portable ramps or custom built ramps. The ideal doorway should be 36″ wide, per ADA and to fit most standard wheelchair sizes.
-Grab bars in the bathroom are a necessity. There should be at least 1-2 grab bars in the bathtub or shower to hold onto and make getting in and out easier, and to prevent slips. There should also be at least one grab bar outside of the shower or near the toilet.
-Showers and bathtubs should include a handheld shower set with either a two function or a 5 function shower head. This allows the senior or person to bathe themselves while seated and prevent slipping in the shower.
-Toilet Seat Risers or Elevated Toilet Seats: Most standard toilets in houses, particularly older homes have toilets much lower to the ground, making it difficult for people with lingering injuries or poor mobility to use pain free. Elevated Toilet Seats raise the seat height anywhere from 3.5″ to 5″ to make getting on and off the toilet easier and pain free. Some even include hand rails for additional support.
-Stairlifts are ideal for people who will be living or sleeping on the second floor of the home and are either wheelchair bound or need assistance going up and down the stairs. Stairlifts are installed directly into the steps of the stairs, are quiet, and move up and down straight or curved staircases safely. Requires no assistance of caregivers or additional family members, and even includes two separate remotes and emergency stopping sensors on the seat and track.
-Fully Electric Beds (Hospital Beds) are not a necessity but they are extremely helpful for both the senior and those might be taking care of them. Fully electric beds or hospital beds raise vertically to make getting in and out of the bed easy and pain free, as well as featuring adjustable head and foot sections to meet your desired comfort all with the click of a remote control. Mattresses are no longer the coil inner spring that you might be used to, many places now, like Independently Yours, offers high quality hospital bed mattresses such as the Invacare Therapeutic Support Surface Mattress. Some companies even offer hospital bed rentals.
-Safety Bed Rails or a security pole provides assistance and support with getting in and out of the bed. A safety rail or bed cane can also prevent falling out of the bed, in addition to providing support and assistance.
-Door knobs are recommended to be of the lever style design to make it easy to grab and open or close. Standard round door knobs may require too much hand strength or range of motion, and as people age, their hand strength and ability to open the doors may deteriorate.
-Proper lighting is extremely important in preventing accidents and injuries, especially near stairways, kitchen area, living room and doorways. Rocker light switches are preferred as they can be turned on or off with the touch of an elbow, arm or hand.
-The average monthly costs of living in an assisted or independent living facility can range from $3,500-$7,000. That usually includes 2 cooked meals a day, daily activities, trips, aid from caregivers, interaction with other people and more.
-In multiple studies and analysis, it has shown that the average remodel cost for the entire home is about $70,000.
-Fortunately, you can retrofit your current home for less than $4,000 total, making it accessible, safe and ideal for seniors, elderly or people with disabilities.
When deciding on whether to let your family member or senior age in place or move into an independent or assisted living facility, determining the availability of caregivers is extremely important. Caregivers may consist of friends, family members, home care service providers, or forms of medical staff that will be able to tend to the senior and provide them either skilled or non-skilled care. Even though the house they are living in may be retrofitted for senior living, they may still require some assistance with day to day activities such as bathing, cooking, taking out the trash, transportation, medication, etc. Living with family members or in their house may seem convenient and doable, but often times we find that being a person with a full time job, a family, and then having to be a caregiver 24/7 can be overwelming, or that you cannot be there every time needed. That is why there are multiple home care service companies, like Touching Hearts at Home, that supply caregivers based on the senior’s or patient’s needed. Home care service companies provide either medical services (skilled) or non-medical home care services (non-skilled). It is important to take into consideration the availability of caregivers depending on each seniors needs. Many of the companies charge an hourly rate and offer up to 24/7 or around the clock care. Depending on each senior’s or patient’s situation they might need more care, less care or medical care. You will have to weigh the costs of how much care they will need weekly and monthly, and calculate that into your costs to retrofit your home and decide cost and convenience wise of aging in place or at an independent or assisted living facility is best.
Just because aging is part of life, doesn’t mean that it has to be difficult. There are ample amounts of resources available for how to care for seniors, how to choose assisted living facilities (Answers for Senior Care), dealing with illnesses such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia, how to make your home accessible for seniors, choosing caregivers and more. The staff at Independently Yours Medical Supplies is here to help answer any questions you may have or point you in the direction of someone else who specializes in that area.