“There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home,” so says Dorothy when she returns from the land of Oz.
And many of today’s seniors agree with her.
What is The Meaning of Aging In Place?
Aging in place isn’t simply about deciding on aging at home.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines aging in place as:
“The ability to live safely, independently, and comfortably in one’s own home and community, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”
To continue living at home while you age, major construction changes may need to be made or a move to a new home that doesn’t need any modifications.
It is important to make these safety modifications in advance and not at the last minute. Everyone’s home is different, as are everyone’s limitations. Certified aging in place specialists can provide a professional home safety assessment to ascertain what’s best for your situation.
The National Association of Home Builders offers a full checklist of aging-in-place remodeling ideas.
Call the Kabb Law office at 216-991-5222 for construction recommendations.
Instead of doing modifications, some people decide to change their residences to ranches, single-floor condominiums, or apartments.
All these options allow seniors to be on their own and not need to go to assisted living or long-term care facilities. It is most appropriate for seniors in good health, with strong support systems and paid-off mortgages.
Benefits of Aging in Place
There are several advantages to aging in place.
It’s considerably less expensive.
Assisted living facilities and nursing homes are very costly. Medicare and other health insurance companies do not cover long-term care.
It helps seniors maintain their independence.
If assistance is needed for everyday chores, it is wonderful to have family or friends who can help or the necessary income to hire help.
It provides emotional value.
Many seniors name the emotional value of staying in their home as the number one reason. Moving to a nursing home requires a big adjustment which could harm their mental health.
Aging in-Place Concerns
Some of the concerns that seniors may have are:
Getting around if you’re no longer driving.
If you can no longer drive on your own, your mobility outside the house to get to healthcare appointments or go shopping is not a luxury, and arrangements must be made. If family or friends are unavailable to provide reliable transportation, check with us for some services we recommend.
Finding activities and friends
While you are aging in place, stay social. It is a key element of your lifestyle choice. Senior centers, clubs, and community activities are a good way to stay involved. Zoom or FaceTime calls with loved ones can help, too.
Neighborhood crime, physical abuse, or losing money in a scam are all examples of safety issues seniors aging in place need to be concerned with. Call our office to get an emergency alert system and access to additional aging in place resources.
The Costs of Aging In-Place
Although many seniors dread the prospect of institutional care, some seniors opt to age in place simply because it is the most economical decision.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the costs of nursing homes are greater than three times the costs of non-institutional long-term care services.
While aging in-place may be cheaper, creating a budget is essential — even if it’s a tough subject to discuss with your family.
We recommend talking to our financial advisor, a money coach, or our geriatric care manager.
Aging-in-place Checklist of Costs
Here is a list of expenses to consider and discuss with our advisor:
- Rent or mortgage payments
- Any in-home care needed
- Credit card debts
- Phone and Internet fees
- Out-of-pocket Medicare costs and prescription drug costs
- Food including delivery costs
- Transportation if the senior can no longer drive
- Personal care items
- Hired help for cleaning, tech support, cooking, repairs, or cooking
- Property taxes
- In-home care assists with basic personal needs such as getting out of bed, walking, bathing, and dressing.
- In-home health care – Medicare may cover some. Other government programs, such as Medicaid and the Department of Veterans Affairs, can help pay for this care.
Keep in mind that the cost of aging in place will not remain the same. Will it still be a viable option for you in 5 or 10 years?
These expenses could include skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, medical social services such as counseling, medical supplies, and telehealth appointments.
Sometimes, you may be eligible for your original Medicare to pay all home and health care services costs. The services must be ordered by a doctor and provided by a certified home health agency. You must also be homebound and under the care of a physician.
In some cases, you might be able to get additional services through Medicare Advantage. These plans through private health care insurance companies contract with the federal government and can include nonmedical transportation, adult day care programs, caregiver support, nutrition programs, and home modifications.
The NIH has put together a list of the type of help you might want as you age in place:
- Personal care: Help with personal care such as bathing and washing your hair.
- Household chores: housecleaning, yard work, grocery shopping, or laundry. Some grocery stores and drug stores deliver, there are many cleaning and yard service companies, and there are dry cleaners that deliver.
- Meals: Sharing cooking with friends like potluck dinners is a fun solution; many senior centers serve meals and eat out with friends, and there are always Meals on Wheels and other meal delivery programs.
- Money management: Geriatric care managers can help with this. We suggest paying bills online and having regular bills like utilities automatically deducted from your checking account.
Aging in-Place Requires Planning and Preparation.
As you can see, aging in place can be a wonderful option, but you must be prepared. Check out our website for tips on successfully aging in-place, especially the section on A Comprehensive Approach to Elder Law & Care Planning. Call our office at 216-991-5222 so that we can help you get started.