As a simple truth of life, aging comes at us fast as we watch not only ourselves but our loved ones become older. While more adults than ever before are living happy, healthy lives far into late adulthood, a number of physical challenges are bound to pop up that make it difficult for some older adults to live on their own.
As the number of adults ages 65 and older is expected to double by 2030, it’s important that families are mindful of the choices they make for their loved ones. The families of elderly individuals are faced with a few potential options for keeping a loved one safe and healthy in old age: cohabitating, assisted living, and aging in place. Many factors influence which option a family will choose.
At 3 Birds Accessibility Solutions, we know how important it is to make an informed decision that keeps your loved one happy and healthy. That’s why we’re here to provide you with all the information you need to know when deciding between a home accessibility remodel (aging in place) and assisted living options. With handicap accessible bathroom and kitchen options, widened doorways, stairlifts, and ramps, we’re sure that the value of aging in place options will surprise you.
How Do I Know It’s Time to Consider a Home Accessibility Remodel?
Timing is Everything When Choosing In-Home Elderly Care Options
As we age, the likelihood that we face falls, mishaps, and deal with limited mobility increases. When it comes to keeping a loved one safe, timing is everything. If you wait too long your loved one could face an injury or even death, but doing it too early seems preemptive and unnecessary.
Home accessibility remodels include the creation of a handicap accessible bath, outdoor ramp, the widening of doors, and more. All of these pieces combine to help prevent falls and injuries, and it’s important to get the timing right because two-thirds of people who suffer from a fall will fall again within six months.
However, families all too often wait until the first fall occurs to make preparations. 3 Birds Accessibility solutions wants to help keep your loved ones safe, so we encourage you to look out for these potential warning signs that it may be time for a home accessibility remodel:
- Shakiness and frailness. Loves ones naturally turn more shaky and frail as they age, which is why it’s important to pay attention to the onset of these symptoms as they occur. In addition to a home accessibility remodel, these people may benefit from physical therapy or additional therapy.
- The onset of chronic illness. If your loved one was recently diagnosed with a chronic illness, it’s time to start considering home accessibility. This helps keep them mobile and safe even on days they feel sick, weak, or confused.
- ADLs and IADLs. Doctors, social workers, and geriatric experts evaluate the skills necessary for independent living (ADLs and IADLs). These skills include getting dressed, shopping, cooking, and more. If your loved one begins to see changes in these scores, it’s time to consider a remodel.
- A noticeable change in weight. Weight loss or weight gain can be a sign that your loved one is struggling to get around, prepare meals, or remember to eat. Once you figure out which it is, you can make the accessibility solution choices necessary to keep them moving.
Why Choose a Home Accessibility Remodel Over Assisted Living?
Choosing a Handicap Accessible Bathroom Remodel Over a Nursing Home
Once you realize that your loved one may be in need of some help, it’s time to choose between a home accessibility remodel, assisted living, and cohabitation. While cohabitation is easily the most affordable option, many families do not have the space necessary to provide a loved one with a comfortable living area.
From there, families choose between a home remodel or assisted living. More than 90% of seniors prefer to age in place or stay in their own homes. To do so, more than 70% of seniors and their families have made modifications in the home — like adding a ramp or handicap accessible bathroom.
Why are these modifications preferred over sending a loved one to an assisted living community? Here are the four main reasons:
Home Accessibility Remodels are Cheaper than Assisted Living
The average price of a semi-private room in a nursing home in 2016 was $6,844 a month, or $82,000 a year. This is not only higher than the average household incoming in the United States, but Medicare does not cover long-term placements like nursing homes and assisted living.
This price becomes even steeper when you consider that more than 20% of people between the ages of 65 and 74 already have their homes paid off. For this reason, it’s much more affordable to keep loved ones in their homes whenever possible. The Medicare PACE program is available in Pennsylvania and can help cover in-home alternatives like handicap accessible bathroom remodels and ramps designed to keep your loved one safe.
Aging in Place is More Comfortable
While it may seem obvious, many elderly people prefer to age in place rather than in a nursing home because it is more comfortable. Not only do they have a sense of familiarity in their own homes, but they are often in closer proximity to friends, family, and neighbors than they would be in a home. Not only can this help with maintaining physical health through an active lifestyle, but can help decrease the astronomical rate of depression — more than 19% — in older individuals.
Loved Ones Retain Memory Better in a Familiar Place
The loss of memory is one of the scariest things that aging adults face. It’s been proven that moving to a new environment like a nursing home can worsen the progression of memory loss. This is because the familiarity of surroundings helps trigger memory with all the senses, particularly with the sense of smell. In other words, staying in a familiar area can help slow the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Aging in Place is Healthier for Older Loved Ones
As people age, their immune systems become weaker. Much like the spread of germs in a kindergarten classroom or college dorm, nursing homes present the risk of a fast spread of germs. Since many older people are already immunocompromised in some regard, assisted living situations can expose them to sickness easily. Because of this, it’s best to keep older loved ones at home where they are less exposed to sickness and can stay healthier.
Think it may be time for a home accessibility remodel for your loved one? Get in touch with 3 Birds Accessibility Solutions today to learn more about ramps, stairlifts, doorway widenings, handicap accessible bathroom remodels, and more.