What does it mean to "age in place"? It's when someone makes the conscious decision to grow older in their home as opposed to moving to an assisited living or long-term care facility. It is suggested that aging in place works best for those who create a plan, modify their home and establish a supportive network - exactly what a Geriatric Care Manager assists with!
A 2018 AARP study reveals that 75% of retirees want to age in place. Despite the pandemic and all of the time confined to our homes, a 2021 AARP study shows that the percentage of older adults who want to age in place stays steady.
Aging in place has the potential to improve an older adult's quality of life, therefore improving their physical health. However, before one commits to aging in place, it's vital to give thought to the livability of the current home. There is so much more to consider than installing a well-meaning grab bar. Truly retrofitting the home to make it wheelchair accessible involves more than installing ramps.
Today's homeowner has options ranging from widening doorframes to lowering counter heights. Bathroom remodels take shower size and mirror placement into consideration. Kitchen redesigns offer pull-out cabinetry and room to comfortably turn around. Age in place contractors consider carpet height for smooth transitioning or can recommend all non-skid flooring. As aging in place contractor and designer, Eileen Gould, says, "It's not your grandmother's home." Implying functionality, design and comfort options are endless.
If you're planning ahead and considering an age in place remodel in preparation of your "Golden Years", there are several modifications available that may not occur to you as an able-bodied Baby Boomer. Some renovations to the home to accommodate aging in place that are unique to limitied mobility are:
· Lowered countertop heights
· Walk-in bathtubs
· Hand-held shower fixtures
· Retractable shower seats
· Comfort height toilets
· Expanded hallways and doorways
· Floors with even levels
Aging in place requires advanced planning and budgeting. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to housing options as we age. Older adults and their families must take many things into consideration when weighing the possibilities and benefits of retrofitting a home: costs, time, and overall effectiveness, to name a few.
It's important to remember that while studies show aging in place is a desirable choice for the majority of older adults, other housing options to accommodate the needs of aging family members exist.