10 Aug Aging In Place-Try to Imagine…
Back in May, I introduced a topic about Aging in Place, which means the ability to remain in your own home, as you grow older. There is also a concern that you may not be able to be at home if you are injured or recovering from surgery. This is an increasing challenge in our country as our baby boomer generation ages and our health care costs are on the rise.
(From previous issue) The average cost per year for a nursing home, with a private room in California is $87,345.00. An assisted living facility with one bedroom/single occupancy is $42,000 per year. This is only room and board! These facts are according to a 2010 “Cost of Care” study done by Genworth Financial, Inc., a leading Insurance company (cited by Peter Frederich of Ameriprise Financial in Pasadena). Wouldn’t it make sense to age proof your home so you can stay in it for as long as you like? Consider taking two year’s worth of these potential costs (approx. $84,000 – $175,000.00) and investing that amount in your future independence instead.
Some physical changes of aging include vision, hearing, temperature sensitivity, touch and taste. If you would like to test drive these challenges, try the following:
- Spray hairspray onto a pair of sunglasses.
- Wear popcorn kernels in your shoes.
- Test the difference between two different foods while wearing a blindfold and a clothes pin on your nose.
- Stuff cotton in your ears for a day.
- Wear garden gloves while working around the kitchen. (Maybe not the stove!)
- Peek through the wrong end of binoculars and try to follow the lines in the sidewalk while walking.
Now, imagine living alone and trying to get through the day with some or all of these handicaps. Do you want to be unprepared if it happens to you? Here are 20 changes you can make or plan for in your home. Perhaps an aging friend or relative will thank you.
1. Well lit pathways and steps into your home.
2. Add a handrail to your front porch steps.
3. Increase wattage of certain light bulbs.
4. Install a hand held showerhead in the bathroom.
5. Reinforce shower walls to handle a bench seat and grab bars.
6. Place a phone jack and phone in the bathroom.
7. Choose rounded edges for furnishings and countertops.
8. Use a different color edge to the counter than the top.
9. Place sink controls on the side.
10. Install level handles on doors. (Knobs can be difficult to turn.)
11. Choose cook tops with controls in the front and not at the back.
12. Add a trash compactor to reduce number of trips to the outdoors.
13. Place your bedrooms and bathrooms on the first floor.
14. Use smoke detectors with strobe lights.
15. Choose cabinet shelves, which are not more than 10 inches deep.
16. Bring closet rods down to a comfortable level for easy reach.
17. Install an automatic garage door opener.
18. Use smooth and non-slip surfaces for indoors and out.
19. Lower thresholds to no more than ¼”
20. Use an 8 lb. carpet pad to aide in balance control.