Seniors Settled at Home

Aging in Place Provides Comfort, Allows For Independence

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An example of a cottage that can provide peace of mind and enormous savings to seniors and their caregivers. ECHO Cottages

Most older adults, reports the National Aging in Place Council, want to stay in their homes for as long as they can. No wonder. Home is the foundation from which people build their lives. It’s where comfort reigns king and families are raised. Home is where friends gather in celebration and where people retreat to after a long day to recharge. Surely, home is a place like no other.

Planning to age in place provides seniors with the ability to live independently at home longer than they might be able to do otherwise (see: The Future of Aging in Place ).

That’s worth careful consideration, as the U.S. Census foresees nearly a doubling rise in the country’s population of seniors over next several decades from 2012’s estimated 43.1 million adults aged 65 and older to an expected 83.7 million in 2050.

Independent home life

Home designs and modifications -- such as adequate lighting inside and out, handrails and bathroom grab bars, lever-style faucets and door knobs, wide doorways for wheelchair and walker assess, ramps and other modifications -- make homes safer and universally accessible to people as they age. Even color choices can make a difference in how seniors live at home (see: Designing for Senior Living-Rejuvenating Spaces with Color).​​

For some people, a better way to maintain their independent living is through senior living complexes. Separate apartments in the complexes are fitted with universal designs for people aged 55-plus, an option that gives older folks the opportunity to live on their own and in the nearby company of peers without the cost or responsibility of maintaining a private residence.

Such a move, however, could take some long-term care planning, something too many people avoid (see: 40+ Are Not Prepared and Misunderstand Long-Term Care Options).

Home Addition

Living with their grown children is another way older adults maintain their independence. The arrangement allows for seniors to come and go at their leisure while enjoying the close proximity and support of their family.

In fact, many families choose to share their resources by sharing their homes (see: Generations Living Together Can Impact Aging Services Providers).

Some families go as far as building a home addition for their aging folks, but an add-on apartment can be a costly venture. Residential additions can take the better part of ​a year to complete and run from $25,000 to $150,000, draining financial resources and resulting in increased property taxes.

Backyard Neighbor

A smart way for seniors to enjoy their own home while downsizing and keeping an independent lifestyle is with an elder cottage. Designed by ECHO Cottages Ltd., the one bedroom, 450-square-foot homes can sit in the backyard of a grown child’s property, as long as the option has been approved by the township. Each home is fitted with modern conveniences and a security alarm, plus pre-wired for wireless devices, television, telephone and computer systems. Universal design features make for a fully accessible residence, including grab bars, levered handles and wide hallways.

Impressive architectural details, such as vaulted ceilings and crown molding, add traditional warmth. There’s also plenty of room for pets.

In all, the homes take approximately 30 days to install and hook up, with rental costs running $1,300 a month after an $8,000 to $9,000 hook-up fee -- far less than the price of assisted living facilities. Purchased cottages cost as low as $450 per month, depending on financing.

ECHO Cottages gives seniors their privacy and the dignity of living independently, allowing older adults to go about their day-to-day lives according to their preferences. At the same time, the good company and support of loved ones is only steps away, a real comfort and convenience for both older adults and their families. That’s important since studies have shown that interacting with others not only makes seniors happier, but also benefits their health.

With a variety of housing options, choosing the most suitable alternative is a win-win for seniors and their families.

In all, what matters most is a home that gives older adults the safety, support, and happiness they deserve, while providing their families with the peace of mind that comes from knowing their most senior members are in a fitting environment.  

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