It may come as no surprise that the population of people, age 65 and older, is growing, and will continue to grow. But baby boomers, who are currently entering old age en masse, don’t want to fade away into assisted living facilities.
Baby boomers want to age in place. And, if they were previously resistant to the idea of going to a nursing home, the COVID-19 pandemic has solidified that resolution. “Not ending up in that death trap” sums up the feeling of many seniors.
Several writers have noted, however, that the classic two thousand square foot home with a second story and a washing machine in the basement is not the best place to pass your eighties and nineties. And, with medical advancements, there’s a good chance your mom or dad, or both will live that long.
Seniors Are Going to Need Help
According to a report from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, seventy percent of people alive today are going to need some kind of long-term care once they have passed the age of sixty-five.
Seniors who go to nursing homes should expect to pay six thousand dollars a month or more for what may or may not be life-enhancing or life-prolonging services.
By contrast, home care for seniors is often much more affordable. Many seniors will need help, but possibly only two hours of help a day, starting out. With home care, seniors can opt for exactly the services they need. Perhaps shopping for groceries and doing lawn care has become difficult. With home care, a senior can pay for only those services until she needs more help than that.
Family members often find themselves helping their parents a few hours a week, with laundry, changing light bulbs, and cleaning, for example. However, adult children of seniors have their own jobs and need to prepare for their own retirements. Ideally, a parent or grandparent does not become a full-time job that hurts you financially.
Downsizing Makes Aging in Place More Affordable
If your mother still lives in the three-bedroom, two-bath home in which she raised you and your siblings, it could be a good time to discuss downsizing. You can reduce the amount of help a senior needs and minimize her fall risks by helping her move into a smaller home in a convenient location.
A smaller home is less space to clean, which means less maintenance that has to be provided by family or professionals. Utility bills, taxes, and homeowner’s insurance will all be lower on a smaller house.
Condominiums in buildings with elevators can be a good choice. Smaller, single-family homes with few or no stairs can also make a huge difference in mom’s ability to age in place.
Things to look for in a smaller home
In addition to obvious things like stairs and other fall risks, homes that feature the following will make it easier for seniors to age in place:
- Easy access to parking if your senior still drives a car.
- Safe, walk-in shower or bath with no stairs or dividers that are going to cause trips and falls.
- Small, but efficient kitchen with built-in microwave and dishwasher.
- Vinyl or cork floors. The texture is good for deterring falls.
- Wheelchair compliant sidewalks and easements if your loved one is in a wheelchair.
- Good location near family members who are providing care, near groceries, pharmacy, and perhaps a senior center.
- Minimal yard. Rubber mulch instead of grass will make lawn care less of a headache.
- Combination washer and dryer.
In conclusion, seniors want to age in place, and their adult children want that for them while also keeping them safe. Downsizing is a compromise that parents and children may be able to achieve with tactful conversations. Many seniors enjoy the benefits of a small, efficient home, and such homes make it easier to help and to afford hired help.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elderly Care in Geneva, AL, please contact the caring staff at Wiregrass HomeCare today. Call us at 334-539-5900.
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