There is no shortage of stories about senior citizens who put up resistance to leaving their homes. The emotional attachment, the comfort of a familiar place, and independence – all are arguments older Americans cite when asked why they don’t want to relocate. This is quite understandable, and even when this seems like a favorable option for some family members, it’s not the only one.
According to Rodney Harrell, director of livability thought leadership for AARP, out of 100 million homes across the country only about 1 percent of them are designed and outfitted for elderly people to safely and comfortably live. Fortunately, there are things that could be done to an elderly person’s home that will make staying in it easier for all parties involved – elderproofing.
What is elderproofing?
It’s exactly what it sounds like. Elderproofing is when modifications are made to a home to ensure it meets specific needs of the elderly residents living inside. Modifications can be as easy and quick as adding night lights and changing doorknobs. But, they can be more extensive, such as adding a stair lift for a stairway or renovating an entire bathroom to make it elder-friendly.
Home Matters, AARP, the AARP Foundation, Wells Fargo, the Home Depot Foundation and Dwell magazine sponsored a competition among designers and architects. All of these professionals were asked to create the home of the future. Many of the entries, including the winning one, incorporated a concept called universal design. In a nutshell, this means a home design that incorporates products and elements in such a way that it would be usable by most to all people – not just senior citizens, but for a wide range of ages and physical abilities.
Many of the features found in this type of home are ones that could be completed in a remodel of an older person’s home. Here are some updates for consideration:
- Low or no threshold doorways
- Wide doorways
- Lever types of doorknobs and faucet handles
- Lower countertops
- Shower stalls without curbs
- Open concept floor plan
- Slip resistant floors
- More windows
- Lower placement of light switches
For a more complete list of renovations, check out this checklist found on the National Association of Home Builders website.
While the idea of updating a home can seem cost prohibitive, consider what it would cost to place a senior in an assisted living facility or nursing home. According to this 2011 article from AARP, an assisted living facility can cost around $40,000; a private room in a nursing home will run about $84,000. Both of these estimates are per year costs. While the cost of an update might be just as expensive, it is a one-time expense as opposed to an annual recurring one. If you loved ones are in need of quality healthcare consider finding options that allow your loved ones to stay in their homes.
David York Agency now has a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) credentialed by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) on staff and can help you with elderproofing your home to ensure the safety of an elderly loved one. Call today at 718.376.7755 to discuss your situation and schedule a free consultation.
At David York Agency, we are committed to providing the personalized and dedicated care that people need as they age. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need.