Aging in place has many benefits | Columnists | –


Editor’s note: Kristi Steffen, Interior Designer, AAS, CAPS, wrote this column for Jeff Deahl because home modifications for longer home living is such a popular topic.

The expression “Home is where the heart is” expresses the reality that people feel the most comfortable in their homes. Unfortunately, in our later years stairways, tubs, lack of lighting, and uneven walking surfaces are a few of the elements that can make life difficult.

Aging in place is the modification of one’s home to provide a safe and comfortable living environment regardless of age or abilities.

Modifications can be as simple as adding grab bars or additional lighting, to lowering kitchen cabinetry, designing roll-in showers, or adding an elevator to one’s home.

One advantage to aging in place is the independence a senior can maintain within their own space. This independence provides a sense of dignity regarding their choices and freedoms within their home.

Aging in place also allows seniors to maintain the social networks with friends and neighbors that live close by.

Family ties are also maintained more easily in a home that has been a consistent place of meeting and celebration. Typically, the home provides more space for gathering than a room at a care facility.

In some cases, the loss of senses, such as sight and sound, can be less confusing and frightening in a space that is familiar to a senior.

These benefits can enhance the quality of life for an aging adult, at the same time giving their loved ones a peace of mind concerning safety issues.

While there are costs related to modifications to the home, the costs can be significantly less that the cost of a care facility for many seniors.

How do people go about the process of aging in place for themselves or a loved one? Teamwork! The process should include a joint effort between the senior (or a designated loved one), any current caregivers and a Certified Aging in Place Specialist. Collaboration among these individuals will provide a plan for modifications needed for a smooth transition for years of independence, with a sense of family and community within a home they cherish.

As a Certified Aging in Place Specialist, for Four Seasons Design & Remodeling, Inc., I have been working with seniors to make their homes a safe and comfortable space, while maintaining the independence they enjoy.

Jeff Deahl is past president of the Builders Association of Northeast Indiana. Questions for the Square Corners column may be submitted to [email protected]


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