Aging in Place

Aging-in-place companies help seniors stay in their current living situation throughout the aging process, even as care needs increase. Services may include home modifications, senior mobility products, alert systems, and other aging-in-place solutions.

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What Is Aging in Place?

Aging in place represents the common desire to stay at home or in a current living situation throughout the aging process, even as care needs increase. This often takes planning and forethought, as aging in place may require home modifications to make an environment more age friendly.

Grandpa carrying granddaughter in woods while both are smiling

What Does an Aging-in-Place Service Do?

The ideal home settings for aging in place include first-floor master bedrooms, wide hallways, and single-floor living accommodations. While many retirement communities incorporate these settings into their floorplans, single-family home, townhome, and condo owners may need additional modifications. These can come from companies that specialize in services such as:

  • Home remodeling and universal design
  • Medical alert systems
  • Mobility products
  • Medical equipment
  • Transportation services
  • In-home care

Home Remodeling & Universal Design Services

For seniors wanting to continue living at home, there are many home modifications that make aging in place both easy and safe.

These can be as simple as installing no-touch faucets into sinks, or as extensive as adding a master bedroom to the main floor. Either way, experts recommend making changes ahead of time – even before they’re actually needed.

The most common and practical types of home modifications for an ideal aging-in-place environment include:

  • Adding a full bathroom to the first floor level of the home
  • Or, installing a chair lift if the bathroom is upstairs and one cannot be added on the first floor
  • Installing grab bars in the bathtub and near the toilet
  • Replacing tubs with walk-in tubs or roll-in showers that allow for wheelchair access
  • Adding handrails in hallways and in stairways
  • Replacing current bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room flooring with anti-skid tile
  • Adding better lighting throughout the home to make it safer to move around
  • Installing handrails to make it easier to get in and out of bed
  • For residents who use a wheelchair: consider enlarging the laundry room, lowering the countertops, and adding a ramp for entry into the home

Medical Alert Systems

Modern medical alert systems have come a long way since the push-button necklaces of the ’70s. For example, there are now wrist units that can automatically detect, with 95% accuracy, when a resident has fallen. There are wearables that monitor a user’s daily physical activity, and can even track their health trends.

Medical alert systems can give both the senior resident and their loved ones more confidence and peace of mind when they are at home alone.

While Medicare and most health insurance policies do not cover the costs of medical alert systems, some insurance providers may offer a discount. Some long-term care insurance also may cover some or all of the costs of the devices.

Mobility Products

There are also products that can make it easier for residents to get around at home, helping to maintain independence longer. These range from simple devices, like grab bars in the bathtub and hand-held walkers, to high-tech equipment like rideable scooters.

Common mobility products include:

  • Exterior ramps
  • Stair lift chairs
  • Handrails in hallways and stairways
  • Electric wheelchairs, scooters, or power chairs
  • Standard wheelchairs and walkers
  • Canes and walking sticks
  • Poles and grab bars that assist with standing

Medical Equipment

Furthermore, there’s a wide variety of medical products and equipment for aging in place. These can help make daily tasks easier, increase comfort, maintain hygiene, and monitor the health of the resident. Equipment may range from bandages and hearing aids to back supports and oxygen tanks.

While some items may be needed on an ongoing basis, others are only required temporarily – to manage a specific illness or health issue, for instance. In addition, many Medical supply companies provide home delivery and expedited shipping services for convenience and ease.

Transportation Services

Beyond Uber and Lyft, there are transportation services that specialize in the needs of seniors. These services can help clients run errands or go to doctor’s appointments, for example.
Many companion care companies offer transportation services as well.

Things to Consider Before Enlisting an Aging-in-Place Specialist

  • Ask for referrals
  • Ask for testimonials
  • Check online reviews
  • Look at their Better Business Bureau profile to see there have been complaints
  • Ask for pictures of their work
  • Be wary of anyone who asks for full payment upfront
  • Ask how customer dissatisfaction would be resolved

If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

– Mother Teresa