If you’re like the majority of Americans, you want to continue living in a familiar environment throughout your maturing years.
In life, sooner or later, the house that was built for an “average” family does not work and one of the greatest concerns people have as they grow older is that they may have to leave their home. In fact an AARP survey found the number of Americans desiring to stay in their homes for the rest of their lives, to “Age in Place”, to be greater than 80%.
Aging in Place means living in your homes safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age or ability level.
Whether for physical, geographic, or monetary reasons, much of the aging population will someday have to face this issue. This possibly means leaving behind a comfortable living space, family, a familiar community and many memories. In addition, a certain amount of control is lost when a person gives up their home. This “control” provides the bases to our feelings of dignity, quality of life and independence. One’s Home, their Haven, is a strong element in that sense of security.
As health care costs rise and stays at hospitals or even transitional care get shorter, the aging population must decide how they want to spend their hard earned dollars. According to the MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Homes & Assisted Living Costs (October 2008), the national average for a private room in a nursing home is $69,715 annually and for a private room in an assisted living center it is over $36,000. Additionally, given for example the recent budget agreement/deal reached in California this month we can expect less and less social services to be funded leaving many to have to do some serious out of the box thinking of how to stretch their assets further and if one can extend the usability and livability of their current home for a few more years then that might be the smart thing to do.
California has some of the highest nursing home and assisted living costs in the nation so careful consideration must be taken when deciding to give up your home, lose up to 20% of its value in the current real estate market, and pay for these institutions or to instead to choose to “age in place”.
Keep in mind that there is no one size fits all solutions here and seeking the advice of qualified professionals to help you navigate your choices is key. Specialists in A.D.A/ Barrier-free/ Universal design, elderly and in home care and specialty care givers focus on improving quality of life by enabling, enhancing, ensuring and maintaining independence. They will be able to help you develop affordable, effective solutions to create a safe, accessible living environment that would allow anyone, healthy, impaired or disabled to remain in their home or business.
Americans of all ages value their ability to live independently. But without a plan for aging in place, it can be hard to stay in control of your life. Most people find it hard to look that far ahead because they don’t like to think about the inevitability of aging. People often misjudge their chances of developing a debilitating health condition. The fact of the matter is that growing older is a part of life and not enough people adequately plan ahead for the eventual problems of the elderly and disabled. Too much optimism or denial can lead to poor planning.
Photo credit: Bill Barber
About the Author: Raad Ghantous is the principal of Raad Ghantous & Associates and is an expert in luxury hospitality, wellness centers, and medical & day spa developments. He is also the owner of Your Home For A Lifetime, an A.D.A/ Barrier-free/ Universal design/Aging in place, full service design/build firm with over 15 years of experience specializing in developing integrating elegant and seamless designs/modifications to new or existing structures.