Aging in Place by Design

Aging in Place is a term used to describe the lifestyle choice for staying in your home, safely and independently, for as long as possible. Successful aging in place includes safety elements, health and support systems. It’s a description of how you want to live today and in the future. Proactively making decisions to reach that goal makes the transition of aging easier and less costly.

By 2030, 1 in 5 Americans will be over the age of 65. Approximately 10,000 people are retiring every day, and they are receiving Medicare and Social Security benefits right away. Not everyone will retire at 65, and some won’t live that long, but that’s a sobering number for the effect on these services. Some people are choosing to stay in their homes for as long as possible because of finances. The average cost of living in an assisted facility in Bellingham Wa is $4,500 / month, more if there are two people. Some choose to stay at home to be closer to friends, or they simply enjoy the neighborhood. Whatever the motivation, aging in your home is the most successful when you plan ahead.

When considering your method for Aging in Place, think about your project space (your home). Are you considering building a small retirement bungalow? Think about building a single story house. This will be the most accessible to you in the long run. When that isn’t feasible, including elements like an on-level entry, and a ground floor room that can be converted into a bedroom/living space are ways to make the home easily accessible. When starting fresh, try using a universal design for the bathroom and kitchen. For more information about the universal design, please visit http://landsemarchitect.com/about-universal-design/

Existing homes are more of a challenge, but some safety and comfort changes can be easy and inexpensive. Door knobs, lighting and adding non-slip tape to rugs are just a few simple improvements. Adding ramps and hand railings will add to the cost. If the retrofit is complex, such as a kitchen or bathroom, the financial requirements will increase. If the changes need to be made right away because someone has fallen or been injured, the price and complexity increase even more. When there is a strategy in place, much of this work can be done over time.

Good health and fitness are fundamental to increasing the success of aging in place. Building strength to continue your daily routines is essential. Balance and core strength help you stay on your feet safely. Cardio work for a healthy heart and endurance helps keep you independent. Exercising regularly is a key part of aging well and staying in your home. Following a workout plan that supports your lifestyle is essential.

Choosing to stay safe and independent in your home is the first step to successful aging in place. Learning about options and creating strategies to prepare for transitions is the next step. Proactively investing in your future well-being is how to accomplish your goals.

Want more information? I’ll work with you to make your home more accessible and safe. Email me so we can talk about your needs and how to achieve your goals.

Susie Landsem
Aging in Place by Design