This Just In: Many Seniors Getting Worried About Getting Old
There’s something unfolding in the elderly care industry that every family members ought to know about. Specifically, our elderly people are getting worried getting old nowadays than ever before.
Now, if you’re like a lot of family member, then you’re probably thinking about this news in terms of elderly care and most importantly their future budget. Some people even say that it is much harder to cope up in today’s environment especially with the growing concern of small pensions and few relatives who will take care of them.
For many seniors, living well means living comfortably at home. As people age, however, physical challenges can make it hard to get around the house. One solution is to remodel the space to accommodate these challenges.
A major home remodel can cost thousands of dollars. But it’s often less costly than senior living alternatives. A basic unit in an assisted living facility, for example, runs about $43,000 a year, according to the latest Cost of Care survey from Genworth Financial.
Whether you renovate for yourself or a loved one, remodeling a home for aging in place can be a smart move. Here are top renovation suggestions for seniors, along with average costs:
It seems safe to say there will be cuts or changes to the way these funds are allocated (or an increase in taxes), especially in the areas of healthcare and pensions. Once you’re retired, there’s very little you can do about it asides from going back to work – so the sooner you get your financial house in order, the better.
If doorways are narrower than 32 inches, you may need to expand them to accommodate a wheelchair or other mobility device. A contractor would typically need to replace the existing frame and add insulation, drywall and paint. The job might also entail moving and rewiring light switches.
I can recall being told from a very young age that I would be unable to rely on the pension when I was older, as it would no longer be available. I have my doubts whether this will happen in my generation, but with an ageing population and rising life expectancies, somewhere along the line there has to be a reduction in expenses or an increase in funding for aged pensions and health care.
The cost to widen a doorway varies, especially if there’s electrical work required. Expect to pay from $400 to $600 each.
Levers are usually easier to grip than round doorknobs, and they don’t require a twisting motion. That can be especially helpful for people who have arthritis or other conditions that limit motion. You can find lever-style knobs at home improvement stores starting around $20 each. Changing doorknobs can be a do-it-yourself task, or you might hire a handyman.
One of the benefits of a benevolent government is that changes are incremental, and intentionally designed not to upset the apple cart too soon. The downside is that individuals could reasonably expect a gradual erosion of some services or increase in their burdens – such as by the recent funding cuts to diagnostic imaging services.
These heavy bars can help prevent falls because of slippery tubs, shower stalls and floors. You can generally find grab bars at home improvement stores for $20 to $30 each. The cost to have them professionally installed runs about $100 each, materials included.
Vinyl and linoleum can provide more traction than slick, hard stone floors, and the somewhat softer material can be more forgiving when someone falls. Bamboo and cork are also popular, though more expensive, floor choices.
Expect to pay about $3 to $4 per square foot to buy and install vinyl or linoleum floors. Cork averages about $5, and bamboo costs between $5 and $7 per square foot.
If you don’t have a budget to replace a floor right away, make sure you at least replace or repair any damaged areas. Uneven tiles and other defects pose trip-and-fall hazards for people of all ages.
Even if no one in the home has an immediate need for a wheelchair, a ramp can eliminate the need to climb stairs to enter the home. The average cost to build a wheelchair ramp is about $1,500.
Regular countertops stand about 34 inches off the floor; installing cabinets and countertops at a more accessible 30 inches can make it easier for someone using a wheelchair or scooter to prepare food. The cost varies depending on kitchen size, but to remodel about 30 linear feet of space, budget at least $5,000.
If a home has multiple levels, an elevator or chair lift that attaches to stairs can help seniors move between floors. The average cost of a motorized chair lift is between $3,000 and $4,000, while an elevator installation often tops $20,000, according to HomeAdvisor.com.
The National Association of Home Builders has a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist designation for contractors who help homeowners remodel to accommodate elderly loved ones. You can contact a CAPS professional to get advice on modifications, plan a renovation and find qualified contractors.
Most expenses for home renovations will need to be paid out of pocket. Medicare or private insurance may cover the cost of medical equipment that’s installed in a home, but they generally don’t pay for home remodel projects.
Some seniors may qualify for a limited number of home improvement grants, based on their income and where they live. The Department of Health and Human Services’ ElderCare.gov website has more details.
Another option is to tap home equity with a mortgage refinance or home equity line of credit.
Many seniors prefer to live in familiar surroundings as they grow older. Completing a home renovation — with an eye toward elder care needs — can help seniors maintain independence while enjoying the comforts of home.