fbpx
header_image
Your search results

Blog

Embracing Independence: Homes Designed for Aging In Place

Posted by Susanna Haynie on May 20, 2024
| 2 Comments

picture of elderly couple on a porch with coffee mugs and "Aging in Place" caption

Many of us have had to walk through the tough days and years of caring for elderly grandparents or parents. Finding the right living situation for them is not only physically exhausting, but is emotionally draining and mentally challenging. Everyone loves the comfort of their home.

Until recent decades, it was standard practice to keep elderly relatives close by and in a family home until their passing. As families dispersed across the country and the world, nursing homes, and assisted-living communities sprang up. As the Boomer generation approaches their twilight years, and they have watched peers sell the family homes and start over in a group home or community.

Many homeowners in this age bracket wonder about alternative living situations that would allow to them stay in the home of their choice while meeting their changing needs. We’ll outline available technologies and resources that allow seniors to age in place.

Subscribe to our Blog

WHAT IS AGING IN PLACE?

Aging in place addresses the rapidly increasing needs of eldercare by exploring a new frontier in housing and technology. It also incorporates other industries such as healthcare, community development, and transportation. With housing, aging in place means creating a space that is enjoyable, safe, usable, and easier to live in. In a study by AARP, two-thirds of individuals 45 and older want to stay in their homes as long as possible, and the trend is only increasing.

Aging in place is not just about physical location; it encompasses creating a safe and supportive environment that allows individuals to live comfortably and maintain their quality of life as they age. Concepts such as Green Living for Elders also consider how to support living healthier, lowering maintenance, providing efficient energy sources, and decreasing operating costs of a home overall. These ideas not only provide real solutions for eldercare but are impacting the way we look at long-term living arrangements for all populations.

Related Reading: Retiring in Colorado Springs

SENIORS IMPACT ON THE HOUSING INDUSTRY

By 2050, 20% of the United States population will be over 65 years old (aarp.com).  A government task force charged with addressing the needs of our rapidly aging population identified two major needs:

  • A greater supply of affordable houses. Currently, there is a shortfall of 6.9 million homes for low-income households, including 2.6 million elderly households. The shortage is expected to grow significantly, and many will transition from ownership to rentals. According to the Federal Reserve’s most recent Survey of Consumer Finances, the median retirement savings account in the United States is $87,000. Retirement preparation and savings determines if we can stay in our homes or access affordable housing.
  • The importance of transforming homes and communities to meet the demands of Boomers and Gen-Xers who want to age in place. The task force recognized the importance of keeping Americans in their homes by altering their current living accommodations to facilitate elder needs, building New Urban communities, and addressing the benefits of multi-generational housing.

The Baby Boomers are the largest population group with an estimated $84 trillion in assets to transfer to a younger generation. This stunning wealth has many people hoping for relief in the tight housing market. The expectation is that when Baby Boomers move into assisted living or downsize, it will free up larger single family homes for families. So far, this Silver Tsunami has not started. Baby Boomers are impacted by the housing bottlenecks and high interest rates like everyone else, and this is discouraging them from making a real estate move. This means seniors will have to remodel their current homes to adjust to their needs to live in their home longer.

Related Reading: Active Lifestyle Communities in Colorado Springs

TRANSFORMING HOMES FOR ELDER NEEDS

Being able to stay in your home into your later years is the ideal scenario for many Americans. We are living longer, paying better attention to our health, and technology is creating a variety of solutions available for in-home care for the elderly. Creating a safe and accessible home environment is essential for aging in place. In addition to safety modifications, certain renovations can enhance the functionality and convenience of a home for aging in place.

For those individuals who plan ahead, remodeling or purchasing a home that incorporates a design that creates a safe and usable space for the elderly will enable them to extend the years they have in their personal havens. Thanks to universal design, a home ready for Aging In Place does not have to be a sterile, cold environment. It is possible to design your living environment to change seamlessly with your needs while maintaining beautiful, attractive, and charming design elements.

Top items to consider when remodeling or building a home that is suitable for aging in place:

  • One floor design
  • Zero-step entry
  • Slip-resistant flooring
  • Recessed lighting (instead of floor lamps)
  • Curbless shower
  • Rise and fall cupboards
  • Door and window alert
  • Automatic lights

The most important factor is to eliminate the possibility of falls. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths, and most falls occur in the home (aarp.com). As mentioned previously, universal design homes are ideally suited for those families who are looking to create or purchase a home that will grow with them – or even meet current needs. This is an exciting trend in housing.

Download the Buyer's Guide

Support services for aging in place

It is important to have access to support services in order to successfully age in place. These services can range from home healthcare providers who offer medical assistance to transportation services. Additionally, meal and grocery delivery can provide convenience and ensure that older adults have access to nutritious food. It is crucial to explore and utilize these support services to make aging in place a comfortable and sustainable option. Reviewing care options early on will help create a clear plan for more help is needed in the home.

Financial considerations for aging in place

Financial planning is an important part of aging in place. It can get expensive to modify a home, access support services, and utilize technology. It is essential to budget and plan for these expenses to ensure that aging in place remains a viable option. Exploring insurance coverage, government programs (VA Disability Grants, El Paso County Rehab Program, Colorado House Modification Credit), and financial assistance options can help alleviate the financial burden and make aging in place more affordable.

Related Reading: Universal Design

TOP TRENDS IN AGING AND TECHNOLOGY

elder care gadgets

So many gadgets and technologies are available to help individuals with special needs or the elderly be independent.

So many gadgets and technologies are available to help individuals with special needs or the elderly maintain independence.

Here are some of the biggest trends in age-related technology for the home:

AGE-FRIENDLY COMMUNITIES

As developers consider the impact of the growing elderly community, organizations such as AgeInPlace.com are encouraging us to look beyond the home and create Livable Communities. New Urbanism is utilized by many developers to create close-knit communities that fit the lifestyles of young families through the retirement years. These communities are built around central common areas, readily accessible pedestrian walkways and open spaces. An age-friendly or special-needs community would eliminate the need for automobiles in some instances as many places would be within walking distance. Some community ideas incorporate multi-generational housing.

Aging in place is not for everyone, but it is the trend of the majority. This will have a significant influence on housing needs and trends for the next 15-20 years. If you are interested in learning more about aging in place, we have listed several excellent resources for you below. With the technologies available and a few adjustments to your home, the prospect of living out much of your later years in the comfort of your own space is a very real possibility and can save you a considerable amount of retirement money in the long run.older-couple-768x1024

Making the decision to age in place

Aging in place offers numerous benefits for older adults, ranging from maintaining independence and control over one’s life to promoting emotional well-being and physical health. By creating a safe and accessible home environment, utilizing support services and technology, and considering financial factors, aging in place can be a viable and fulfilling option. It is important to explore the available resources and plan ahead to ensure a successful and comfortable aging in place journey.

If you or someone you know has special needs or an elderly family member, we would love to talk to you more about what we have shared. Even if your retirement years are a couple of decades down the road, it is never too early to strategize and plan for aging in place.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

click here to subscribe to our blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Privacy Preference Center