The Beginner’s Guide to Remaining in Your Home While Aging

That day is coming. The day when our Peter Pan philosophy can carry on no more. Others age but we don’t, right? It is time to face the reality that aging is something happening to us all and we must plan accordingly. Some people associate getting older with retirement communities and loss of independence.  But do we really need to leave our homes? The answer is no. Not if you take time to familiarize yourself with the tools and concepts available to you today.

“Universal design” is a concept quickly becoming embraced among homeowners of varying ages. The idea is to start making simple modifications now to your home, enabling you to remain in your home when your daily lifestyle needs and routines change. The article “Universal Design for Every Age and Stage of Life” states the best time to think about integrating universal design principles and features..is “before a life change or emergency happens.”

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Statements like this make it all the more important to start being proactive with your future home modifications. SimplyHome is taking steps by participating in the Livable Homes Project with AARP and the Universal Design Institute. Richard Duncan, Executive Director of UDI says the concept is more than adding custom features to a home. The changes need to be packed to look good and work well. He took the time to answer our questions about universal design and explain a few things we should know.

 UD #2

5 Things You Should Know about Universal Design

  1. Where do you start? Before making any changes to your home, the absolute first place to start is with an honest assessment of your home and your needs. Ask yourself, Is this the right home for me to age in? For example, should the need arise, would you be able to move your bedroom from the second floor to the first floor in this particular house?

  2. The Three Main Areas.  The three main areas to focus on in your home are the entrance, bathrooms and kitchen. Making entrance changes are the most simple and the best first move. You can start by adding handrails to the stair cases and improving lighting. A good question to ask yourself with the entrance is, Are the hallways and doorways wide enough to fit equipment through?  After the entrance, some basic bathroom changes could include having  curbless showers, adding a bench for a place to sit and having a handheld showerhead.

  3. Common Misconception. When you think of an added shower handrail to help accessibility, it’s easy to imagine it as an eyesore, a bulky feature completely out of place with the interior of your home. But universal design is more than custom features. It’s the entire package of adding an element that helps your daily needs, but also fits the style of your home. For example, a handrail can also double as a towel rack.

  4. Get the right advice. The first mistake many individuals make when implementing universal design is hiring someone with expertise in one room, rather than understanding the functionality of the house altogether. For example, advice should come from someone with an architectural or interior design background. Someone with home-design experience, who can understand your needs as they will change and envision how your home can grow with you.

  5. There’s Higher Functionality with Technology.  SimplyHome technology is, “A wonderful addition to keeping people safe and  independent in their homes,” says Richard. The higher functionality you have to begin with, the more effective the custom changes. Using SimplyHome technology helps you to avoid limitations with the changes you implement down the road. You want as many options as possible. SimplyHome environmental controls help you to adjust lighting in various locations of your home from a single location – a tablet. SimplyHome door, window and stove sensors, medication management, fall detection, and telehealth services, cover all your needs to remain in your home.

 

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For Today’s Retirees, There’s No Place Like Home

Aging in place is an ever growing idea throughout the baby boomer generation. As Dorothy said, “there is not place like home.” This rings true for people of all ages, but baby boomers are clinging tight to this thought.

See what people are saying about aging in place in this article by USA Today and Newsmax.

For Today’s Retirees, There’s No Place Like Home

(photo: Thinkstock)

(photo: Thinkstock)

American retirees these days are gravitating toward the notion of staying put and “aging in place” rather than moving to sunnier climes, new data show.

USA Today reported an AARP study found the overwhelming majority of people 50 years of age and over want to remain in their home and community “for as long as possible.”

Separately, a Merrill Lynch/Age Wave survey concluded 65 percent of retirees say they are living in the best homes of their lives right where they are.

“There is something deeply nourishing about our homes, and people become increasingly appreciative of that emotional connection as they get older,” says gerontologist Ken Dychtwald, CEO of Age Wave. “It’s a rich emotional nest.”

Many retirees want to remain in their home “because they are most comfortable with what is most familiar,” psychologist Mary Languirand, co-author of How to Age in Place, told USA Today. “People are going to do whatever they can to maintain that sense of comfort. That is the ideal place in a lot of people’s minds.”

The Merrill Lynch/Age Wave survey concluded a majority – 58 percent – are interested in new technologies such as cleaning robots, 80 percent are interested in tech-enabled efficiencies such as smart thermostats and 76 percent are interested in technologies to maintain their health, such as sensors, alerts and air purification devices.

Dychtwald says 52 percent of people over the age of 75 live alone.

“Technology can help people keep an eye on mom or dad,” he said. “The good news is that all of these breakthroughs are on the drawing board or already available, but they are waiting for the market to take more full advantage of them.”

USA Today noted AARP offers a guide aimed at helping consumers stay in their homes as long as possible.

The guide offers tips and suggesting ranging from simple do-it-yourself fixes to more expensive improvements, and also includes worksheets.

See the original article about what people are saying about aging in place here.