The phrase ‘Nursing Home’ does not have to be part of your vocabulary as soon as you might think. Did you know there are options to stay in your home well after retirement and late into your “aging” years? Through a design concept called Universal Design, you can make changes to your living environment that help you remain in your home during most (if not all) of your retirement years.
Universal Design for Your Home
As we get older, we tend to be at higher risk for accidents with day-to-day things. This is one of the reasons we move into a nursing home or assisted living facility – as a preventative measure. For example, as we age we are at higher risk of falling, according to the Mayo Clinic. Having a no-step entry at your home reduces that risk. So does having slip resistant floors and more lighting at the inside of your home. These are all examples of a Universal Design concept.
You might be thinking that making renovations to your home has the potential to get expensive and yes, some of the remodeling costs can be pricey, but it doesn’t have to be. Widening your door frames to provide wheelchair access is going to cost a lot more than installing lever door handles.
But here’s another way to think about it: Having a private room at a nursing home will cost on average more than $7,500 per month (or $90,000 per year) according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And more than $3,500 per month for an assisted-living facility ($40,000 per year).
When it comes to remaining in your home while aging, there are big picture, big-price fixes and then there are more low-cost items you could probably take care of over a weekend. If you start early enough (think proactive rather than reactive), these changes can be made over the course of years, helping to spread the costs out over time.
Getting Started: Low-Cost Items
The below are great starter options for extending your time in your home.
Add additional lighting to your hallways, rooms and front walkway
Purpose: By adding night lights and lamps to darker parts of your home (such as hallways), you can reduce your risk of falling.
Estimated Cost: $4 to $15
Installation Cost: Free! These types of lighting updates don’t typically require third-party installation services.
Shower Grab Bar
Purpose: Providing you with stability in the shower.
Estimated Cost: $15 to $80 dollars
Installation Fee: $75+ (it’s worth calling around, as some locations will charge $200+)
Lever handles for doorknobs
Purpose: Lever handles tend to be easier to open than round knobs.
Estimated Cost: $15 to $30 per lever handle
Installation Fee: $100+ (or less, installation fees vary by location, company and, number of doorknobs being installed)
The higher costing items are things like widening door frames (to fit a potential wheelchair) and removing steps from the home. But the costs associated in renovations to your home could very well cost you less than the retirement community price tag. Other ideas you can incorporate into your home include:
- Walk-in showers (with no step) and a bench to sit down
- No step entry to the home
- Slip-resistant floors
- Lighter color floors (easier to see)
- Single floor home, with the main idea being to have same-floor access to the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, and laundry, eliminating the use of stairs
Have questions on how to incorporate a design budget into your spending? Or just general retirement questions? Contact Us.