AGING IN PLACE
What is aging in place?
Aging in place is a term used to describe those who wish to age at home rather than in a facility. According to the AARP, more than 70% of people said they wish to live out their retirement at home rather than in a facility such as a retirement community. The challenge that comes with this decision is that homes are not built to be accessible. While most associate accessibility with wheelchair use this is not the only situation people find themselves in when a change in health occurs. Additionally, according to a recent survey by AARP 40% of families are caring for another family member within their own home that has specific accessibility needs. Home modifications, large or small, may be required to ensure safety and mobility.
What is the Livable Home Service?
After sixteen years working in senior living and healthcare interior design, I wanted to use what I had learned to help more people modify their homes allowing them to live safely with dignity and independence. After getting my Certified Aging in Place certification from the National Association of Homebuilders I began offering the Livable Home service, which is an evaluation of the home's interior and exterior to assess where there are issues with accessibility and help homeowners and caregivers develop a plan for the future.
When you sign up for the Livable Home service a Certified Aging in Place Specialist will come to your home and meet with the homeowners, loved ones, any caregivers or healthcare professionals involved in the care and have a discovery session where we will discuss what care is currently needed, where there are existing issues, and plans for the future. After this session, the CAPS professional will tour the home, talk about issues, budget, and go through a checklist of items that will later be included in an extensive report provided to the clients for review. This will allow everyone involved in the care to create a plan of action. This service can typically take as little as an hour or as much as three to four hours depending on the needs and size of the home.
Did you know?
According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey from August 2020 here are the national median rates for facility care:
Assisted Living Facility: $51,600.00 a year
Nursing Home, Semi-Private (sharing a room): $93,075.00 a year
Nursing Home, Private: $105,850.00 a year
Home Health Aide: $54,912.00 a year.
What modifications are typically made to a home?
Modifications can range from budget-friendly items such as increased lighting levels to more expensive modifications such as kitchen and bathroom renovations. Other items typically included are the widening of doors, flooring changes, ramps, and assistive devices such as grab bars and lifts. Please remember that modifications are dependent on the needs and budget of each client.
How can an interior designer help?
As an interior designer that has worked in senior living for many years, I see several items being left out of homes that can make a big difference.
The first is furnishings. People have more options than a lift chair from the local furniture store, but most don't have access to this attractive furniture because it requires ordering from specific companies. There are furnishings that are specifically constructed to support seniors but still look like normal furniture pieces. They can range from traditional wing chairs to modern in aesthetic. In addition, these furniture companies offer performance fabrics that are stain-resistant with moisture barrier backings. This type of furniture also lasts longer than normal residential furniture.
Another misconception is that accessibility has to look cold and clinical. If you have an interior designer on board from the start, we can select durable and attractive finishes, fixtures, and furnishings that will disguise accessibility within luxurious designs. We can replace the term 'handicapped' with 'spacious, spa-like, and thoughtfully designed to meet every need.' Does the image look like senior living furniture? Or an accessible space? Of course not!
At Design Works Studio our Certified Aging in Place Specialists have the knowledge, experience, and resources to create a beautiful home that supports every stage of life. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.
Below are some links to other websites offering aging in place and caregiver resources:
Aging in Place.org Advice and Support
US Aging leaders in aging well at home
Eldercare Solutions is a Roanoke-based firm that assists caregivers with resources.
The local office on aging for Roanoke, VA.
Looking for ways to pay for home upgrades with Medicare? Here is a great article with some advice.