Today’s Featured Elder Care Expert on is Kathy Bate, California Aging in Place Specialist

Question:  “I am seeking information about Aging in Place.  What is it, what are the advantages of Aging in Place vs Institutional Care, and what is the difference in cost?”

Answer:  Aging in Place means that residents don’t need to move from their homes in order to accommodate their changing needs. When surveyed, over 85% of the older population say that they would prefer to stay in their homes rather than relocate to assisted living or nursing homes if possible. Major life changes in our Senior years such as moving away from friends and neighbors is very stressful and disorienting. Staying in one’s home is a lot less expensive than being institutionalized and can contribute to longer, happier lives. In California, it can cost up to $100,000 per year to live in Assisted Living. For less than that amount, modifications can be made for safety and ease allowing Seniors to stay at home for perhaps 10-20 years.Children of Seniors  can show great care and compassion for Mom and Dad by spending a little in advance to make their homes safe and accessible through minor modifications.

Is it better to spend $80,000 – $100,000 per year (15 x $100,000 = $1,500,000) at Assisted Living or spend $80,000 x 1 = $80,000 and live at home for another 15 years? 

As an Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS certification by the National Association of Home Builders), we are able to recommend and offer attractive design solutions that create a safe and comfortable environment for individuals who want to age in place…but are not experiencing health issues that require constant medical care, or have progressive or other conditions that require home modifications/equipment, or are dealing with an abrupt or traumatic health-related change. 

At that time “Adaptable” and “Accessible” Design may become necessary. Then a team of experts including patients P.T.and O.T. offer their recommendations to guide your interior designer and contractor to make more extensive modifications including special medical equipment. Depending on the progression and longevity, these major modifications may or may not be the best solution. 

I encourage all my clients who want to stay in their homes to plan ahead now when remodeling their home. Well-designed kitchens and baths, wider hallways and door openings, and open floor plans that offer “Universal Design” elements can provide multi-generational access and even increase the value and saleability of ones home. Aging in Place Design really is valuable for anyone at any age – we are all aging every day.

Kathy Bate, ASID, CID, CAPS
Designs for Independent Living
The national ElderCare Matters Alliance, California chapter


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