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What It Takes To Age At Home

What It Takes To Age At Home

Where do you want to live as you get older? According to AARP, nearly 90 percent of people over age 65 want to stay at home for as long as possible. It’s understandable, home is where you’re most comfortable and you likely feel it will be the easiest, safest and cheapest option. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Here’s what it really takes to age at home.

Home safety for seniors

It’s not that your home isn’t safe in and of itself, rather, potential issues with mobility, vision, hearing, balance, cognitive impairments and/or simply living alone can raise safety concerns for seniors. In fact, an average of more than 7,000 people ages 65 and older die each year in the United States due to a home injury. Falls are the leading cause of home injury deaths, followed by fires and poisonings, according to the Home Safety Council (HSC).

Injuries are all too common as well with seniors experiencing an average of 2.3 million nonfatal home injuries each year, according to HSC’s State of Home Safety in America report. In addition, adverse drug events account for approximately 280,000 hospitalizations annually according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

So, if you are planning to age at home, make sure to prepare in these areas:

  • Clear walking paths – remove clutter, excess furniture and electrical cords from pathways
  • Install handrails on both sides of the stairs
  • Ensure adequate lighting and make it easily accessible
  • Consider installing grab bars, raised toilet with handles and non-slip mats in the bathroom
  • Use a reach stick – avoid step stools/ladders
  • Also consider adding bed raisers and night lights
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking
  • Avoid wearing loose fitting clothing and keep flammable items away from cooktop
  • Inspect your furnace and/or fireplace yearly
  • Never overload electrical outlets of extension cords
  • Avoid space heaters, or keep them 3 ft or more from flammable items and turn off when leaving the room
  • Follow medication instructions exactly
  • Take the entire prescription (even if you feel better)
  • Always read the package insert
  • Use pill organizers or apps to keep track of medications, dosage times and refills
  • Keep poison control as well as neighbor phone numbers handy and identify two ways to exit in an emergency.
  • Place smoke alarms/carbon monoxide detectors on each floor or near each bedroom and check them bi-annually.
  • Fire extinguishers should be easily accessible and/or consider a home sprinkler system.
  • Purchase a backup generator if you’re on oxygen and/or a dialysis machine.
  • Seniors should also have a personal emergency response system (wearable call button).

Should you need care at home

The unfortunate reality is that an estimated 70 percent of people over age 65 will require some form of long-term care services during their lives, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In general, your options for care while living at home include:

HOME HEALTH CARE

These services can help with personal care, household chores, cooking, transportation, occupational, physical and/or speech therapy and are provided on an hourly, as needed or 24/7 live-in basis to help you live more independently at home.

ADULT DAY CARE

Here you’d be responsible for transportation to and from, but these centers typically offer meals and snacks, health monitoring, medication assistance and fitness, as well as enrichment and social activities during normal business hours, five days a week.

According to the most recent Genworth Cost of Care Survey, on average you could expect the monthly cost for home health care to be $4,290 for homemaker services and $4,385 for home health aide services as well as $1,625 for adult day care.

You must also consider that if you do need care at home you may also need to make accessibility modifications which can not only be a hassle to do, it can also be expensive. For example, installing wheelchair ramps can cost between $1,000 to as much as $15,000 and widening a doorway can range between $500 and $1,000 even if there are no structural issues, per Angie’s List.

Aging is easier in senior living

According to the most recent Genworth Cost of Care Survey, on average you could expect the monthly cost for home health care to be $4,290 for homemaker services and $4,385 for home health aide services as well as $1,625 for adult day care.

You must also consider that if you do need care at home you may also need to make accessibility modifications which can not only be a hassle to do, it can also be expensive. For example, installing wheelchair ramps can cost between $1,000 to as much as $15,000 and widening a doorway can range between $500 and $1,000 even if there are no structural issues, per Angie’s List.

Learn more in our Dollars and Sense Financial Guide to Senior Living (download below), or contact Richfield today to schedule a virtual tour.

Download our FREE Senior Living Financial Guide