The Cost of Aging in Place
A new program in Baltimore called Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders, or CAPABLE for short, is successfully proving the point that even small changes can allow seniors to stay in their homes and avoid moving into expensive nursing facilities. The initial goal of the project was to see how much just $4,000 could improve the safely and mobility of a senior.
The results have been so positive that Medicare is looking into adopting the program on a national level with the hopes of saving millions in taxpayer money.
While you might expect that most of the $4,000 budget was eaten up by costly home modifications, the money was actually split almost evenly among handymen, nurses and occupational therapists in order to create a comprehensive approach to aging in place. These experts made home visits and helped seniors come up with individualized plans based on personal goals. In some cases, simply learning exercises to improve balance and strength was enough to help seniors tackle the challenge of standing long enough to prepare their own meals and allow them to stay in their homes.
Small Changes that Make a Big Difference
This study proved that even minor changes can have a significant impact on quality of life and save seniors thousands of dollars. Consider this: the monthly cost of staying in a nursing facility can easily surpass $6,700. This means that even if you are able to postpone moving into a nursing home for just a few months, you will experience considerable savings. Here are just some minor changes that made a big difference to participants of CAPABLE:
- Raising toilet seats
- Installing ramps
- Improving lighting
- Installing extra stair banisters
- Adding grip bars, shower seats, floor pads to bathrooms
- Lowering kitchen counters
- Securing rugs
- Making sure cords are safely tucked out of the way
Added Benefits of Aging in Place
Sometimes it is easier for people to understand problems and solutions in terms of dollars and cents, but aging in place has a variety of benefits that go beyond simply saving money. Aging in place can fight depression, which is twice as common among seniors as other age demographics. Studies also show that seniors who are able to maintain their freedom and independence are also able to combat the progress cognitive decline that is often a symptom of aging.
One of the benefits of modern medicine and technology is that people are living longer; however, this also means an increased burden on senior care services. Over the next couple decades, the number of people over the age of 65 is predicted to grow at a rapid rate and the solution to addressing the needs of some many seniors and ensuring a better quality of life may be as simple as investing $4,000 to create and implement a strategy for aging in place.
Check out this handy infographic from AmeriGlide for more information and statistics about the aging in place.