In this month’s newsletter we will look at the considerations those who want to age in place must consider in order to do that. There are some tremendous challenges when ensuring our homes and communities are ready to support a high quality of life for older adults who want to age in place. Many of these challenges relate to planning for the unique care needs someone aging in place may have when their health deteriorates. There may need to be significant modifications to the home to accommodate medical equipment and possibly the need to have someone live in the home with the elder full time.
James Park from Home-N-Able: Aging in Place Advisors is a UT Graduate in Electrical Engineering with extensive experience in home construction and remodeling. After having worked in hospitals and nursing homes, correcting life safety deficiencies, he decided to start Home-N-Able so that he could bring the same attention to safety to individual homes. James is motivated by his own aging parents and the loss of his grandmother who died two weeks after being pressured into a nursing home when he was a teenager. He is an advocate for aging persons to help them stay in their homes with maximum safety till they are ready to move.
Your Parents Want to Age in Place, Now What?
According to statistics, 95% of seniors want to age in place, as opposed to relocating to a facility of some form, be it independent, assisted, or skilled nursing. However, the same statistics indicate that less than 85% have taken any steps to prepare their homes. As we age, capabilities decline, our eyesight dims, hearing fades, and so on. It is important to implement changes in your home to offset capability losses. A first step in aging in place is to recognize the value and necessity to anticipate future needs.
So, if you or your parents are part of the 95% that wants to age in place, what should you do?
- Start with the end in mind. Determine at what condition or time you will want to move. Talk to your doctors and family to determine a time line. This will help determine what changes to make.
- Assess your current ability to complete the (Activities for Daily Living) ADL’s. There are 5 of them.
Personal hygiene – bathing, grooming and oral care
Dressing – the ability to make appropriate clothing decisions and physically dress oneself
Eating – the ability to feed oneself though not necessarily to prepare food
Maintaining continence – both the mental and physical ability to use a restroom
Transferring – moving oneself from seated to standing and get in and out of bed
- Have a Home Assessment done to help determine the level of readiness of your home. Having a good feel for your ADL’s and timeline will help the Home Assessor tailor your assessment to your needs. The National Association of Home Builders provides a certification course for Aging in Place, called CAPS. Your home assessment should be done by someone who is CAPS certified.
- Address the issues identified in the home assessment. The assessor should be able to refer you to services that will be able to modify the home, provide assistance with ADL’s, and provide / install equipment.
Keep in mind that this is a very personal decision, if a person wants, and has adequate resources, they can stay in their home through hospice. In this case, the home would need to be modified to ensure the necessary living space for a full-time caregiver. Another consideration, is how much to prepare your home so that others, with diminished capabilities, can visit. There is a defined level, called “visitable” that is a good idea to implement. Otherwise, at some point, someone in your family, or social circles will no longer be able to come to your home because it is inaccessible to them.
If your parents want to age in place, encourage them to start the planning process while they are still able to make decisions for themselves. James can help you and your loved ones get started in this planning process. You can contact him at 817-897-7182
If you would like further information or assistance, please contact Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Texas Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney, Antoinette Bone, at (817) 462-5454 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Nothing in this message is intended to provide legal advice. This message is for educational purposes only.