This article by Tom Kelly of Akron.com describes how rising long-term care costs are fueling the demand for aging-in-place home modifications. However, according to Kelly, even though builders are doing an admirable job of incorporating universal design features in new homes, baby boomers are still slow in accepting the need for them.

Such slow acceptance is also similar to people’s responses to environmentally-friendly homes. For example, only 12% of respondents to a MetLife survey said they would pay more for a green home. But, the same people surveyed are willing to pay an average one-time amount of nearly $7,000 if it would save $1,000 annually in utility costs. While another 23% of respondents said they are concerned about the environment, it does not drive their decision to invest in sustainability.

Kelly believes that the key to modifying people’s ideas and behaviors is through education and the dissemination of proper and appropriate information, in this case by the aging-in-place experts. “The educational push by builders, architects, and designers is to remove the ‘old’ association from universal design (UD).”

UD and aging-in-place construction or remodeling can also increase a senior’s feelings of independence while simultaneously adding aesthetic beauty and enhancing their home’s resale value. Kelly explains, “Builders are striving to create UD applications that make it easier for someone to carry out daily activities such as preparing meals, climbing stairs, and bathing, as well as changing the physical structure of a home to improve its overall safety and condition.”

According to Kelly, the necessary tools required for homeowners to stay in their homes longer and age-in-place were brought to the forefront of the building community through information attained from a cost survey conducted by MetLife on nursing homes, assisted-living communities, home care agencies, and adult day services in all 50 states.

The survey data consistently showed that the national average rates for private and semi-private rooms in nursing homes, assisted-living base rates, average hourly rates for home health aides and homemaker/companions, as well as adult day services average daily rates have all increased and continue to rise.

But aging in place doesn’t mean you have to run out and build a new home now — or even make hundreds of thousands of dollars into home modifications. There are some simple things you can do now to allow you to thrive in place well into your golden years.

Here are some common barriers and what you can do about them right now:

  Difficulty standing up from low surfaces: you can increase furniture height by adding risers or for a slightly large investment, add a self-powered lining seat cushion

  Difficulty getting on and off the toilet: purchase an elevated toilet seat or replace your existing schedule with an elevated ADA-height toilet

  Difficulty getting out of bed: install a bed rail or install a standing pole beside the bed

  Difficulty standing while showering: purchase a portable shower chair or buy a portable shower bench

  Reduced vision: install motion sensing night lights by the bed or purchase table lamps that have metal halide bulbs to increase light quality for reading

These are just several simple things you can do today to modify your home for safety and accessibility for years to come. 

Are you thinking of renovating or making some simple changes to your bathroom to make it more accessible? Let us help. Village Craftsmen offers a THRIVE Bathroom Design Safety Program to not only help you age in place, but thrive in place.  An in-home, experienced rehabilitation technician will:

* LISTEN to your concerns regarding bathroom safety

* ASSESS your bathroom with the Thrive Safety Protocol

* PROVIDE you with recommendations for your safety & fall prevention

* ARRANGE for a quote to install safety enhancements if you desire

To learn more please complete the form on this page or call 330-896-2000.