What is “Aging in Place”?
Aging in place describes a senior homeowner’s ability to remain in the home to the fullest extent possible by planning and implementing that promote safety, mobility, security and functional use. Too often, seniors and persons with disabilities or impairments are placed in group homes or assisted-living facilities without exploring this highly desirable and affordable option. More than 70 million Americans will require assisted living by 2020.
By adapting and redesigning the senior’s current home and habits, including installing assistive technologies and arranging for regular help from outside resources, he or she can “age in place” while maintaining a safe and independent lifestyle for as long as possible in their most familiar and comfortable surroundings.
Why do many senior citizens prefer to age in place?
Nursing homes, to many, represent a loss of freedom and a reduced quality of life. Here are a few good reasons why these fears are justified:
- In 2007, inspectors received 37,150 complaints about conditions in nursing homes. Roughly one-fifth of the complaints verified by federal and state authorities involved the abuse or neglect of patients. Specific problems included infected bedsores, medication mix-ups, poor nutrition, and other forms of neglect.
- The proportion of nursing homes cited for deficiencies ranged from 76% in Rhode Island to as high as 100% in Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming and Washington, D.C.
- Many cases have been exposed in which nursing homes billed Medicare and Medicaid for services that were not provided.
- A significant percentage of nursing homes had deficiencies that caused immediate jeopardy or actual harm to patients.
Considerations for Aging in Place
How does your home work for you now? How do you think it will work in years or ten years?
Do you have physical impairments that prevent bathing or toileting without assistance? Could you manage your impairment with design changes to your home, such as a walk-in, curbless shower, grab bars, and a lower sink and vanity? Is your bathroom large enough to accommodate a walker or wheelchair?
Are your hallways and doorways wide enough for a walker or motorized scooter? If you live in a two-story home, could you live on the first floor only? Do you have enough room for an exterior ramp, if needed? If your kitchen countertops and cabinets were lower, could you manage food preparation and minor housekeeping on your own?
An InterNACHI Certified Aging-in-Place Home Inspector is trained to evaluate your at-home lifestyle and your mobility issues within the home, and assess your expected needs. Your InterNACHI AIP inspector can recommend corrections and adaptations to the home to improve your maneuverability, accessibility, safety, and ease of performing daily routines.