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Aging in Place: Alternatives to Leaving the Home You Love

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Many people are caught in a dilemma of difficult decisions. Perhaps they have had a recent fall, surgery, or illness that has them feeling pressured to leave their home. This is the home they raised their children in, that precious place of happy holidays, where abundant memories were made. The very thought of leaving home is painful, so why not look at alternatives for aging in place rather than leaving the home you love?

Plan Before You Need It

As a family, it is best to create a game plan or several game plans before there is an emergency. This will reduce stress and allow more options to be considered. Not only are there financial considerations, but accessibility solutions to entertain as well. No one wants extra pressure being added to an already emotionally tender situation.

Things to Consider

One way to avoid that pressure is steer away from companies that have a commission-based sales team! Use a company that offers a free in-home consultation with a professional whose firm has a reputation of integrity: being on time, doing great work, and personnel who are compassionate with good listening skills! The best scenario is to select a company that does all their own installations. These tips alone will save you time, money, and freedom from stress. I know of one company that offers all of this and sends a photo of the consultant coming to the home, so the client knows exactly who to expect!

Start with the End in Mind

What are the potential needs and goals of your family? Are there physical challenges now that will progress in the next six months, six years, or more? What someone needs today may change one year from now. Some families are looking at multi-generational living spaces, while others are seeking modifications so aging-in-place parents can stay in their own home.

Social Life

Social activities are just as important to one’s health as exercise or eating right. If individuals are aging and staying in their home, it’s good to make sure isolation doesn’t creep in. Keeping the living space accessible for visitors is not only key but will help the senior from feeling stuck in one room. Making sure there are ways to facilitate shopping, interaction with friends, and social clubs is critical.

Sometimes the adult child thinks they should move a parent in with them rather than modify the parent’s home. If the parent has been established in a community for some time, it is entirely possible they have nurtured 50 years of friendships there! It may be un-wise and un-fair to remove the parent from their social setting, thinking the child is able to replace all those friendships. It would also create a huge strain on the child to try and be all things to the parent. One person can’t possibly entertain and interact with the parent like 10 friends can. Selecting to modify their home for aging in place could be a healthier choice for everyone!

Options and Alternatives

Today there are so many options to consider. Just because someone is aging doesn’t mean they want others to know about their physical issues. So why not look at grab bars that don’t look like grab bars? Instead they look like beautiful towel racks, soap dishes, etc.—and yet they are sturdy enough to hold up to 800 lbs of pressure!

Barrier-free showers can serve all generations. If bathing has been a concern, consider this option that has been known to make showering simple, save the back strain of the helper and allow privacy and dignity to prevail.

Compare Costs

Health professionals and families alike have thought that some simple home modifications would be costlier than they really are. For example, a simple, straight stair lift is probably close to a third of the cost that someone would pay in a month if they moved into an assisted living facility.

When considering a move, keep in mind there is a huge chunk of cash that needs to come into play right away. With home modifications, people can pay as they go. It’s always best to anticipate changes for the future and work those costs into the big picture. The health of your family and future is well worth it!

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