10 Aug Aging in Place-Will Your Home Let You Stay?
It happens to all of us. We grow older. Before we know it, we are feeling the aches and pains of everyday life. Our flexibility is just not what it used to be. We can’t reach that top shelf where the winter sweaters are stored. Simple tasks like opening a jar require more hand strength than we can seem to muster. We have trouble bending down to reach inside the cabinet. And what about our hearing ability? Is our sight diminishing?
Heaven forbid, we should add surgery to this list of hindrances. Do we need a walker or a wheelchair? How are we going to get into the bathtub? How do we navigate the front steps? Are the people near and dear to us able to come to our house to visit? Maybe they don’t visit very often because it is just too hard to get in! Is your home equipped to aide in your recovery in the event of surgery or an accident? Is your home equipped to let you stay in your home, as you grow older? Eighty-eight percent of people over 65 have at least one chronic condition such as arthritis, cancer or Post-polio Syndrome. Where will they live? Did you know that the number one concern, according to a 2007 study on “Aging in Place” by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), is losing one’s independence? The second largest concern is falling. Thirty-one percent of non-institutionalized people in this country live alone. Falling is the number one cause of accidents of people over 65. One third of those, fall every year. Two thirds of those who fall, do so again within 6 months. Only one in four fully recover. And one in four, die of complications. It seems a shame that these obstacles can be easily overcome with a little advanced planning. The oldest of the Baby Boomer generation (1946-1964) will be turning 65 next years. Currently, 10,000 Baby Boomers reach the age of 65 every day. That is 365 per hour! The next generation is much smaller. Who will care for all these Baby Boomers? Did you know that by the year 2025, people age 65 and over will outnumber our teens by 2 to 1? And by 2050, the elderly population will more than double to 80 million. 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. And what about that “in home care” clause in your health insurance plan? Eighty percent of these caregivers provide care seven days a week. In California, the median rate for a licensed Home Health Aide is $21/hour or $46,904 per year. You could be paying for insurance that you won’t be able to use if your home doesn’t let you. To those of us in the design profession, sustainability can also mean, “designing to last a life time”. That is to say, your lifetime. Not only does this way of thinking ensure your independence down the road, and for those you love, it will increase the resale value of your home! How great would it be to inform your buyer that “this house works for everybody?” I hope you will think about this carefully. It is never too late to make important changes. When you’re ready to create your INTERIORS FOR LIFE, we’ll be here to help you.