Over 90% of seniors say they want to age in place, but less than 50% say they feel confident they are going to be able to do so. The fact of the matter is, ageing in place is a fairly new concept, and renovating for accessibility and aesthetics even newer than that. Traditionally, seniors would stay in their homes until they could no longer function within them, and then move into a retirement community or condo indefinitely.
The retirement space is rapidly moving away from that model. With seniors living longer, and technological advancements improving at breakneck speed, seniors no longer want the cookie-cutter retirement home model, they want something more dynamic, and that’s where IA Living comes in. The more time you spend in your home, the more you should invest in making it a pleasant place to be, especially as you age.
The goal of IA Living isn’t to create an environment that’s purely accessible, it’s to manifest a home that looks and feels just as comfortable as the one you had previously.
Considering Your Home’s Accessibility Before You Need It
Before creating IA Living, I found that many of my patients would hastily have ramps, grab bars, and restroom aids installed in their home upon injury or other mobility issue. The result was a home that looked more like a hospital room than a place they would be happy to spend most of their time. Many of them simply didn’t know that there was another option, and purchased these items in an attempt to make their home work for their disability.
The problem with creating an accessible home after you need it is it needs to get done RIGHT now, and there is very little time for renovations, if any. The key to preventing this is to create an accessible space before you need it. Many seniors feel as though changing the structure of their home, or moving to a more accessible space, is an admittance of decline. This is simply not true. Having mobility issues, or requiring augmentation to function in your home does not mean that you’re not ageing healthfully, it is often just what comes with getting older.
“So why should I care about that”? You may as yourself, particularly if you don’t already have mobility issues.
You should care about that because the ability to maintain independence and live in a home that brings you joy directly contributes to your overall well being. In order to get started, it’s crucial to ask yourself the right questions about how you see your lifestyle as you age.
Asking Yourself The Right Questions Can Save You Money
59% of seniors state that they feel more independent at home, and feel happier because they are closer to their friends and family, but even though 90% of seniors say they want to age in place, many of them don’t, and this is because traditionally the options present for seniors aren’t supportive. There is very little cohesive information on what you should be considering when you want to age in place. Consider the following questions:
Do I see myself fully retiring, or do I love my work and want to continue in some way?
How is my current mobility?
Do I see myself living in my current home for most of the year?
What kind of community do I want to live in?
Is renovating my home worthwhile?
Will I be thinking about selling my home at some point in the future?
Considering these questions can help you be more prepared for not only your renovation decisions, but your financial future as well. Making manageable changes over time while you are still healthy is far less stressful than having to undertake a massive renovation after you need it.
Starting Early Increases Your Likelihood For Success
Aside from well being, the “use it or lose it” premise applies heavily to seniors. Performing the tasks you have always performed (cooking, cleaning, dressing) no matter how modified, is extremely beneficial for your cognition and ability to continue doing those things.
Having a plan to age in place successfully will help you actually achieve it. Too many seniors fall into the unfortunate circumstance of having others decide or control their living decisions once they are less capable to do so. Be in control early, so that you can retain as much of your health as possible.
Regardless of where you choose to age in place, taking control of your future is one of the most important investments seniors can make in their long-term health. Having a home that you enjoy waking up in every day and can function through easily should be a top priority. If you’re looking for some guidance on what an accessible home entails, check out the IA Checklist for a complete breakdown.