While an AARP survey shows that 76% of Americans age 50 and over would like to stay in their homes as they get older, an American Housing Survey report found that only 10% of the 115 million housing units in the U.S. are suited to accommodate older residents. In some cases, the houses are too large, having been where people raised their families, requiring too much care and upkeep.
In other cases, there are too many stairs, or their homes don’t have things like ramps into the house or handrails in the bathroom. Fortunately, there are steps you or your loved ones can take to make your home life comfortable and accessible as you grow older.
In many cases, simple home modifications can help. The first step is to survey your loved one’s home to figure out how and if it can work in the long term.
A growing trend over the past few years has been older adults taking in a roommate. Some of the benefits of this trend include having companionship, which helps ward off loneliness and brings in extra income.
Make a Plan to Ensure You Successfully Age in Place
It’s essential to plan for what you or your loved one will need in their home, as opposed to reacting to an emergency. Start with a meeting of your loved one and caregivers so everyone can express and determine the type of help and modifications needed.
A good way for you to determine your loved one’s needs is to spend a day with them to observe their daily routine. It will give you an idea about which household tasks they can still handle and which ones they need help with, as well as ways to modify their home to make it safer and easier to navigate.
Fortunately, there are experts that can professionally assess your home to help you identify hidden hazards and ways to make you or your loved one’s home easier to navigate.
Assisted Living: Deciding When it’s the Right Time to Leave Home
While the vast majority of older people prefer to stay in their home and their community, sometimes it’s not the best or right decision. Making this decision for yourself or your loved one can be challenging and heart-wrenching.
Here are some guidelines to help make that decision easier. It’s time to consider an assisted living facility if:
- Your loved one becomes more aggressive and violent, especially someone with dementia
- They develop health issues, or their health issues worsen
- They have difficulty keeping their home clean and manageable
- They have trouble paying bills and managing their money
- They are socially isolated