Home Design Trends for Aging in Place

Whether they stay in your home or relocate to another home, more of our parents want to stay out of facilities and in the home of their choosing.

The homes in which aging adults have raised their families, and even most homes built more recently, probably weren’t designed with seniors’ needs in mind. A remodel or relocation may be in order for them to do as they desire so the live in a home that is equipped to accommodate the needs of aging bodies and minds.

Design Trends for Seniors Aging in Place

  1. One floor living with clear movement in the living space.  It is desirable that there are no steps to climb for bedrooms, living areas or garage entry.
  2. Entry into the house from the garage and front door with no steps. It might mean that a ramp will be needed. An awning or cover over the door is preferred.
  3. Maintenance free dwellings. Little or no outside work, living spaces that are easy to clean, and newer appliances.
  4. More storage especially in the kitchen that is more accessible. High cabinets that are difficult to reach are undesirable.
  5. Appliances that are placed at comfortable heights to avoid bending over.
  6. Drawers instead of cabinets which are easier to access.
  7. Cabinet hardware that allows doors to hide away while in use.
  8. Tall knee height counters in the bathroom to allow sitting down for tasks.
  9. Raised toilet seats
  10. No threshold showers that allow open access

Many of us could use these modifications in our homes anyway, but the seniors for whom we care especially could benefit from these changes to their homes as they would make it possible to live more safely and comfortably while aging in place.

Do you have other items on your wish list so that your parents can stay put?  We would love you to share with us today.

Quick Reminder: Catch Medicare Open Enrollment Before It Closes

Medicare’s Open Enrollment period for 2011 benefits closes at the end of the year and along with it the opportunity for seniors to review and update benefits.  Is there a senior for or about whom you care who could use some help making choices?  Each year plans change and benefits change — as do the needs of many of the seniors covered by Medicare.  The plan that may have been right last year or for several years might not still be the plan that best meets your loved one’s needs.

What plan and options are right for your loved one?  There are a number of factors that go into that answer.  Medicare breaks down the decision for you at Medicare.gov, with a plan finder that asks the right questions.  Only you and your loved one can weigh the trade-offs associated with the three C’s — coverage, cost and convenience.

Choose now to make sure the right plan is in place for 2011!

Don’t Get Stung by the High Cost of Care

Is your loved one living in an assisted living facility or nursing home or staying in their home?

Are you paying, or helping to pay, the bill or overseeing their care?

If so, then you have felt firsthand the pinch as costs for caring for an older person in a facility or at home have risen.  We hear and read about the cost of medical care skyrocketing, but as many seniors and their families are learning, the cost of long term care is going up just as fast or even faster.

According to the “Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs” by MetLife

  1. Nursing home private room rate national average in 2010 is $229 and semi-private $205; it was $219 and $198 in 2009.
  2. Assisted Living monthly fee base rate national average in 2010 is $3,293; it was $3,131 in 2009.
  3. In home care for a trained aid in 2010: from an agency $21/hour, homemaker $19/hour; often there is a minimum number of hours required
  4. Adult day care services average cost per day in 2010: $30-$150; sliding scale rates apply

These are just some of the costs that are mounting.  We also have many out of pocket expenses that we pay for the care of our older family members including basic necessities like housing, medications, food and clothing that continue to increase sometimes beyond our reach.

Financial planning for aging and maintaining a healthy lifestyle to prevent chronic diseases become even more important if we want to be able to help our loved ones live out their life as they desire.  It almost always costs less for your loved one to live at home through the aging process (called “aging in place”) and a healthy lifestyle may make that possible for longer.

Even if the desire is to live at home, seniors and those helping them plan need to consider the possibility of needing to live in a residential care facility of some sort.  Being able to choose where you live means having sufficient funds of some sort, being savings or long term care insurance, to afford your choice.

We would love to hear your suggestions!