The Benefits of Aging In Place - How Remodeling Makes Life Enjoyable

    In an ideal world, we all want to remain in our homes and live independently for as long as possible. This has come to be known as “aging in place.” A study from Boston Consulting Group shows that 90 percent of homeowners in the retirement age bracket want to age in place. What many do not realize is the importance of taking steps now, so the decisions around aging in place remain firmly in your hands. 

    Aging in place means having a home where everyone can function comfortably and safely. Waiting too long to make changes to the home can mean pressure from family and healthcare providers to move to an assisted living community or nursing home. Planning now for aging in place not only helps down the road, but it can also increase safety and the enjoyment of your home today.

    What are the Benefits of Aging in Place? 

    There are many significant benefits to aging in place. Here are just a few highlights. 

    • Greater Independence: One of the main reasons to consider remodeling for aging in place is to keep your independence. The right modifications in a home will make that independence possible.

    • Health and Safety: One big challenge facing care facilities like nursing homes and assisted living facilities is the spread of infectious diseases like flu and COVID. Aging in place means less exposure to such health concerns.

    • Higher Level of Comfort: The above two points contribute to living with a higher level of comfort, living the life you have become accustomed to. Being in familiar surroundings with some modifications to maintain health and safety can keep you at that level of comfort well into the future.

    • Lower Cost of Living: We will be digging into the economics in the next section, but the big takeaway is that, even though a remodeling project may require a significant investment, the cost of living while aging in place is far less than paying for life in a care facility.

    • Stay Active in Your Community: Friends and family are nearby. You have good relationships with the neighbors. Aging in place keeps you active and rooted in the community you’ve grown to love.


    What Are The Economics Of Aging In Place?

    One benefit that deserves more attention is the significantly lower cost of living that aging in place represents, compared with moving to an assisted living community. Evidence suggests that programs that support aging in place may yield cost savings for families, government entities, and health systems. 

    A recent report from Channel 7 WJLA  found the average annual cost for assisted living care in Washington DC was $87,000, Maryland as a whole: $62,000, and Virginia $68,000. That adds up quickly and shows the economic upside of renovation for aging in place when spread over five or more years. Also, when you are not relying on an assisted living or nursing care facility, Medicaid and Medicare are not paying out for those accommodations either, saving those systems money as well. 

    The math is not at all complicated. The cost of living in an assisted living facility or a nursing home far exceeds the cost of a home renovation. 

    Why Renovate for Aging in Place Now?

    If there were an opportunity to create an enjoyable home environment now and age with dignity over the coming years, why not take that opportunity? 

    Homeowners have options. They might choose to sell their DC area home and move where the cost of living is lower. They might also choose to move to a 55+ community where aging in place modifications have already been considered and implemented. 

    Other parts of the country may have a lower cost of living than here in Metro DC, but if you’ve built a life here, this is likely where you want to stay. Similarly, with a 55+ community,  with friends, family, and neighbors already nearby, why disrupt those connections? These are decisions you need to weigh carefully. 

    Once you’ve decided to stay in your home and renovate for aging in place, you’ll need to decide what modifications to make. Having a good design-build firm in your corner, with experience in renovations of this type can be a huge benefit at this stage.


    Elements of an Aging in Place Remodel

    What needs to be changed in your home for aging in place? Here are a few common modifications.

    First floor living is ideal for aging in place. This might mean converting existing space or building an addition for a first-floor primary suite. An added benefit to creating this space is that you’ll be adding value to your home when it comes time to sell. If the first-floor primary is not an option, you might consider installing an elevator for easy access to all floors.  

    Next, consider ways to make navigating the kitchen simple. Frequently used cabinet doors and shelves should be accessible from floor level without the need for a step stool. You could also create a countertop storage area for small appliances so you don’t have to reach into storage cabinets and lift them out. 

    In bathrooms, wider doors for wheelchair access, along with curbless showers and wall-mounted sinks are popular ways to add aging in place elements without sacrificing style. 

    Building the Life You Want Now and for the Future

    A rule of thumb we like clients to consider is to do aging in place modifications 20 years before you need them. Why on earth would you do that? For one thing, inflation is real, and doing these modifications now will bring considerable cost savings compared to what they will cost two decades from now. Between materials and labor, getting the job done now will be a significant savings.

    You also might pay a premium for modifications done when they need to be done right away–to ensure your immediate health and safety–rather than anticipating the need and finding the best quality workmanship to get the job done right and on budget today. 

    To learn more about remodeling to age in place and the design-build process, download our eBook titled "Homeowner's Remodeling Guide To Age In Place With Style, Comfort And Safetyto get an in-depth understanding. If you are considering a home renovation, please feel free to schedule a home renovation discovery session with Gilday today.

    Homeowner's Remodeling Guide To Age In Place With Style, Comfort And Safety


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