Your home is your sanctuary. It houses your most precious belongings and memories. It’s familiar. It’s a place that’s truly your own. For many of us, our home is the place we feel the most comfortable. So it’s no surprise that most people want to remain in their homes as they age rather than uprooting their lives to move to an institutional care facility.
According to recent AARP survey data, 90 percent of older adults wish to stay in their homes as they age. But it isn’t just seniors who believe aging in place is the right decision. Research suggests that aging in your home leads to better psychological, emotional, and physical health outcomes, and it comes with a whole host of other benefits.
Keep reading to learn all about the advantages of choosing to age in place and how you can prepare your home to accommodate your changing needs and lifestyle.
What It Means to Age in Place
The term “aging in place” simply refers to living in a private residence and maintaining some level of independence as you grow older. It covers a broad range of circumstances, demographics, and lifestyles.
For some, aging in place means that you continue to live in your own home with a partner or alone, and have access to personal care and assistance as needed in your home. For others, it may mean moving into a home that’s built for multigenerational living or moving in with loved ones.
Most homes — especially older ones — aren’t designed to accommodate aging in place. Therefore, this choice frequently involves some alterations to your living spaces. Remodeling or redesigning your home to age in place will create safe, accessible, and comfortable living spaces for you to grow old in. It’s one of the most important things you can do to maximize your independence and ensure your home meets your needs as you age.
Benefits of Aging in Place
There are some important advantages to aging in place, including the following:
1. More Freedom & Independence
As we age, we experience physical and cognitive changes that can make our daily lives and activities more difficult. Those of us fortunate enough to reach old age eventually need help from those around us to perform our daily activities. While complete and total independence may not be achievable in the long term, staying in your home as you age can help you maintain a great deal of freedom. Aging in place allows you to have a higher level of control over your decisions, routine, and lifestyle.
2. Better Health Outcomes
One of the primary reasons older adults choose to relocate to assisted living facilities and residential care homes is that they believe it’s healthier and safer than remaining in their own homes. While the increased supervision and care that you receive in these situations can be beneficial, research indicates that aging in place often leads to better physical, emotional, and psychological health outcomes.
Leaving your home to move into residential care can take an emotional toll. Many seniors experience feelings of homesickness, stress, and depression, which can accelerate the rate of physical and cognitive decline. In addition, choosing to age in place can protect you from the increased risk of bacterial and viral infections that are associated with assisted living and nursing home care.
3. Familiar Routine & Setting
Staying in your home as you age, or moving in with trusted family members or other loved ones, ensures you’ll grow older in a familiar setting that feels safe and comfortable. Older adults who live at home are generally able to maintain the strength of their personal relationships more easily and keep their routine consistent. You can also keep more of your belongings and have more control over the design and organization of your physical environment. All of these help limit cognitive decline and keep you active and social as you grow older.
4. Cost Savings
It’s no secret that the cost of residential care is high. Prices vary by location, but assisted living facilities cost an average of $3,000-$5,000 per month, while nursing home care is even more expensive, averaging about $8,000 per month. Over the years, these monthly costs can accumulate quickly. If your wish is to age in place, it’s worth pursuing a more cost-effective situation that will make you happier and healthier as you grow older. Here are just a few options to consider:
- Remodeling your home so you can comfortably age in place
- Remaining in your current home and accessing home care resources
- Relocating to a multigenerational living situation
- Building an accessory dwelling unit on a family member’s property to act as your living quarters
Aging-in-Place Remodeling: Make Your Space Work For You
Your changing needs and lifestyle aren’t necessarily a reason to move out of your home. If it’s important for you to stay in a place that truly feels like home, you can update your living spaces to accommodate your needs and wishes.
At L. Evans Design, we approach each and every project with the goal of making homeowners’ living spaces work for them. Therefore, it’s no surprise that aging-in-place home remodeling is one of our specialties. Your home should be designed to accommodate your changing physical, emotional, and accessibility requirements to ensure your safety and comfort throughout the aging process.
Design Elements of Aging-in-Place
The aging-in-place design solutions you choose for your home should depend on your unique needs. We’ll consider your personal design preferences, your daily routines and lifestyle, your level of mobility, any home care resources you plan to access, and whether you live alone or with others.
Here are a few of our most tried and trusted aging-in-place home design changes:
- Adding a second master bedroom on the first floor of a two-bedroom home
- Installing a no-step entryway
- Including pull-out pantries, cabinets, and other accessible kitchen storage solutions
- Widening doorways to accommodate changing mobility needs, walkers, and wheelchairs
- Installing a no-step shower with grab bars
- Adding accessible toilets and bidets
- Installing wheelchair-accessible stairlifts
These changes will make your home easier to navigate, creating a more streamlined and safe environment for you to live in.
Renovate Your Home So You Can Age In Place Today!
Transform your home into a space that works for you. From small projects like installing a no-step entryway to large projects like adding a master bedroom on the first floor and everything in between, L. Evans Design Group is an award-winning home remodeling firm based in Portland, Oregon that can help. We believe your home should be designed and built for your needs now, and as they change in the future. That’s why we take the time to understand how you live, your needs, and your unique design perspective so we’re able to design beautiful spaces that are functional and will allow you to spend time in them for many years to come.