In the next 20 years, the number of people over the age of 65 is anticipated to be double. In the next 30 years, the population of Americans ages 65-85 becomes almost 73 million. Also, according to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), around 23 million Americans are caring for their elderly parents; this number will become higher once baby boomer entering their retirement age. While many seniors want to stay in their home as they age. Aging at home or Aging-In-Place is still a viable option for seniors who prefer to stay at home rather than move into a senior living facility like a retirement or nursing home. There are some important concerns before this could happen.
Are they able to live safely in their home?
Do they feel comfortable while living in their home?
Are they able to live in their home independently?
For example, What if the floor is slippery? Or are they comfortably able to use the kitchen sink or other appliances in case they are using a wheelchair? Or are they able to use the shower without getting help in case they have a mobility issue?
Cost, health and safety, proximity to family, emotional attachment are other factors to be considered.
What does of Aging-In-Place mean?
Term of Aging-In-Place is used once someone decides to live in their home and community safely, independently, and comfortably regardless of age, ability level or income.
Who is a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS)?
A Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) could provide solutions to challenges seniors facing in their home. Depending on the owner health condition, resolutions could change from minor modification to a massive remodeling.
AIP users are divided into three distinct segments:
First: AIP with no urgent needs (Planer) include consumers that who are not experiencing a significant health issue, then, they do not feel any urgency to incorporate accommodating features in their homes; some of the clients to this category plan to accommodate features in their homes before they need and the others deny that they need AIP services.
Second: AIP with progressive condition needs, include consumers who have a chronic or progressive condition. Their home needs special modification which helps them continue living in their home.
Third: AIP with traumatic change needs include a consumer who experiences traumatic changes that necessitate immediate modifications to help them continue living in their home.
Resolutions for each segment can be specific and narrow down to their current needs or future needs. You may ask how we know about future needs if we plan to live in our home for the rest of our life. Universal design (UD)* is one of the design methods which helps CAPS professionals to provide an answer for all future needs.
Communication with other professionals like an occupational therapist or a healthcare professional would be helpful if you already have them in the loop.
What is UD?
Universal Design is a design approach to building, an environment that provides convenience to a wide range of people’s preferences characteristic. Therefore, the finished product is accessible, understandable and usable to the greatest extent possible of users.