If you have suddenly become caregiver for your aging parents, you are not alone. Everyone is living longer only to experience many life-challenging events during an extended lifespan, but some people require a little assistance. It could involve technology issues or helping them determine a path forward while living in their home. Many aspects are involved with senior living solutions, and the correct route is determined on an individual family basis. The desire to remain in one's current home is not driven by age. This need is a reaction to and the result of life's experience. Any family living with a disability among any of its family members will always benefit from familiar surroundings. To increase safety and independence within your current home, certain modifications to increase accessibility and use are typically required. These modifications include but are not limited to wider doorways, the installation of ramps, inclusive kitchen modifications, accessible bathroom modifications, and the application of smooth, non-skid flooring. When planning on what modifications are needed, always make a list of the home's most problematic areas for any or all of its residents. This basic desire is creating unprecedented nationwide challenges and a niche market in the remodeling industry known as Aging in Place. The majority of Americans over the age of 45 want to continue living in an environment they are well acquainted with throughout their maturing years. These people are looking for safety, security, ease of use, and comfort for their forever home before they must vacate due to specialized needs.
A forever home is unlike a starter home, and each occurs at different times during a resident's life. A starter home is a smaller home needed when you are starting out. It represents a stepping stone. This is a popular option concerning younger homeowners because it's more affordable. The forever home has the ability, through proactive planning and existing home modifications, for a family or all family members to live in the house for a very long time prior to anyone needing full time professional assistance. This home contains accessibility for everyone, regardless of their age, size, or abilities. During life's voyage, the forever home should become a reality as early as possible. This reality means the family can enjoy the comfortable home longer. It has adequate access through wider entries and doorways, a larger kitchen, larger bathrooms, larger bedrooms, and an accessible front and back yard. The more expensive larger forever home has room to comfortably maneuver about when using mobility devices since architectural barriers are nonexistent.
But where did this commonly seen lack of home accessibility in nearly all homes come from? Perpetual, status quo building techniques, and affordability provide the answers. Over time, along with the exponential birth rate of the baby boomers in the late 40s and 50s, the need for more housing created sprawling American suburbs to accommodate the growing families. Developments sprang up with few architectural options while affordability was the main concern. Today, these same homes slowly and increasingly signify outdated and obsolete architectural barriers exposing a true lack of accessibility for the very people inhabiting them. The situation is ever more expanding in time since the greatest majority of individuals want to age where they currently reside.
According to the AARP, 80 percent of older homeowners overwhelmingly prefer to Age in Place, which means living in a home safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age or ability level. People with disabilities are aging but some healthy individuals are aging into a disability. Aging in Place strictly deals with the remodeling of existing homes. Therefore, to Age in Place, owners need to gradually modify their homes as they mature by increasing access and safety using the principles of Universal Design before a life-changing event forces making sudden architectural changes. The Aging in Place market in the U.S. today is influenced by the increasing size of the aging population, the market desire to remain in one's home, a constantly increasing cultural diversity, and the aging housing stock associated with reduced affordability. The desire to remain in existing homes is driven by social attachments via a network of neighbors, friends, and family. Comfortable positive aging is a way of living rather than a state of being. What's more, seniors who took a proactive approach in modifying their homes over time offer peace of mind to their loved ones or caretakers who know their family members are living safely and independently in their homes.
Clearly, the act of Aging in Place occurs during a period of time when mature homeowners or seniors have the ability to make decisions to better support an increased quality of life. There are three segments served within the Aging in Place marketplace. The first segment includes those homeowners without urgent needs. The second segment focuses on a group of homeowners with progressive health needs. The third sector involves those people who have undergone traumatic health changes or accidental injuries necessitating immediate modifications to the home. The choice to Age in Place does not mean the homeowner has to do everything in the future by themselves. Aging in Place principles supports responsible people living life with dignity and independence even when outside assistance is essential.
T-Square Company is one of Austin's premier Aging in Place contractors offering complete Aging in Place services from home assessments to design/builds. We have over 30 years of accessibility knowledge to share with our clients making their home life less complicated. We hold a nationally recognized CAPS certification (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) offered by the National Association of Home Builders, NAHB. Contact T-Square Company today to find out how to proceed toward an accessible second chapter of life while your aging parents remain in their home. We offer complete Aging in Place design services.
By the way, David Traut, the President/owner of T-Square Company has recently published a book entitled "Age in Place at Home: Adapting the Home Environment for All Generations". It is available on Amazon and stands as a reference book for increasing home accessibility through Universal Design.