Aging in place is a term many older adults and Baby Boomers have adopted to describe their desire to remain in their private home as they age. Whole industries of home remodelers and assistive technologies have been created in response to this growing trend.
AARP found that 87 percent of adults aged 65+ “want to remain in their current home and community as they age.” And, according to the most recent data from the Administration on Aging, roughly 12.5 million older Americans live alone.
A leading reason older adults like the idea of aging in place is that they believe it is less expensive to remain in their own home once the mortgage is paid off. But mortgage-free doesn’t mean expense-free, especially for seniors who might not be able to keep up with everything the way they once did.
In addition to taxes, home owner’s insurance, transportation costs, maintenance, housekeeping and lawn care, older adults will eventually have expenses for home care services and technology products.
It is important to understand and plan for the expenses associated with aging in place.
Home Care Services to Age in Place
In-home care can be used to help with tasks ranging from bathing, grooming and meal preparation to providing transportation for errands and appointments. While you will have a variety of options to choose from when it comes to home care, some are more reliable than others.
Families often begin by hiring caregivers directly and providing oversight for the services they provide. While this is often a less expensive option than working through an agency, it can require a big time commitment on the part of an adult child or other family member. Added to that is the challenge of finding and maintaining reliable help.
Another option is to employ a home care agency. They handle everything from hiring and supervising the caregiver to paying employment taxes. While you will likely spend more if you opt for a home care agency, you will also have peace of mind knowing the agency will be able to reliably cover your needs or those of your senior loved one. Should a caregiver fall ill or have an emergency of their own, the agency will have someone else on their team fill in.
In the Pacific Northwest, home care agencies charge between $20 and $38 per hour. Many require a minimum number of hours per visit. For a senior who requires frequent assistance, the costs of in-home care can quickly add up.
Modifying a Senior’s Home to Age in Place
If you or your senior loved one has lived in your home many years, it probably wasn’t designed with aging safety in mind. Stairs, bathtubs and lighting can all be areas of concern. Home modifications are an expense you should be aware of and budget for.
Depending upon what will need to be done, the home modifications to age in place can be pricey. MetLife research estimates you will spend:
- Ramps and lifts: $2,500 to $20,000
- Grab bars in bathrooms and at bedside: $250/two installed
- Bathroom renovations: $3,500 to $35,000
- Widening doorways: $800 to $1,200 per doorway
- Emergency call system installations: $99 to $1,500
- Monthly monitoring fees: $40 and up
Weighing the Options for Senior Care
As you budget for the future, it is important to do so with thoughtful consideration of your assets and how you can best use them. And to ask yourself or your senior loved one a few important questions:
- Is aging in place safe?
- Will I be a burden to my family when I need more care?
- What will my financial resources support?
- Is aging at home really less expensive?
- Would I enjoy a better quality of life being part of a senior living community?
Our final suggestion is to explore your senior care options before a crisis occurs. Making an informed choice takes time. If at all possible, it shouldn’t be done in a rush.
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