As people age, mobility issues can become more common and may limit their ability to live independently. While some may consider moving to an assisted living facility or nursing home, staying in one’s own home can be a viable option. In fact, staying in one’s own home can provide a sense of familiarity, independence, and privacy that may not be available in a facility. However, people with mobility issues may face challenges in making their homes accessible and safe. Before you decide to move into a facility, you will want to explore the benefits of staying in your own home, learn about the available improvements that can be made to make a home more accessible, and cost-effective options for making those improvements.
In order to continue to live in your home, it needs to be fully assessable to you and any mobility aids you may use. If a home is not easily accessible, you may have difficulty moving around and performing daily tasks such as cooking, using the bathroom or even getting out of bed.
Safety is another important consideration for people with mobility issues. Living in a facility may provide access to round-the-clock care and support, but it can also mean sacrificing some independence and privacy.
Social connections are important for everyone, but they can be especially important for older adults with mobility issues. Remaining at home enables you to maintain those long-term social relationships with close friends, family, and neighbors. However, living in a facility can also offer opportunities for socialization with other residents and access to organized activities and events.
Living facilities do allow you to personalize your space but that space is limited. Someone who has lived in a home a number of years collects photos, books, souvenirs, and other sentimental objects that will have to be left behind. Personal food preferences will also have change. Most living facilities do not have kitchens and provide all meals leaving the resident no choice but to eat what they serve. While there are still benefits, most autonomy is lost.
Aging in place gives you more authority and control over your daily activities, which may be uplifting and encourage a sense of independence. The ability to keep one’s personal space and habits in a way that is most comfortable for them means that living in your own house can offer greater privacy than living in a facility.
While deciding whether to move into a facility or continue in one’s own home, cost is frequently one of the most important considerations. In some circumstances, staying in one’s own house may be more inexpensive, particularly if the mortgage has already been paid off or if reasonable-priced improvements are possible.
Living in a facility, however, can give residents access to amenities like meals, housekeeping, and personal care that might be more expensive to obtain in a private residence. However, these services can be had at your private home as well. At $21/hour, you could get a caregiver to help you with housework, meal prep and certain errands you need assistance with for 20 hours a week for about $420/week or about $1,680/month. That’s just a fraction of what you would pay to stay in the average assisted living or nursing facility.
As of 2021, the national average yearly cost for assisted living in the United States was around $54,000 according to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey. The average yearly cost in Tennessee isn’t much better at $48,000. However, the cost can vary widely depending on factors such as location, amenities, level of care needed, and other factors. In some areas, the cost of assisted living can be significantly higher than the national average.
Affordable Home Improvements
Ramps and Stair Lifts
There are many improvements that can be made to a home to make it more accessible for individuals with mobility issues. Ramps can be installed to allow for easy entry to the front door or other areas with few steps, while stairlifts can allow the homeowner full access to upper levels of their home.
Installing grab bars, non-slip flooring, and handrails throughout the house, including the bathroom, is an inexpensive way to provide additional support and safety. Including a shower chair or transfer bench in the bathroom can provide a safer bathing experience while keeping the existing tub. But there may be circumstances that have you thinking of a walk-in tub.
While walk-in tubs like you see on TV can be a great option for some individuals with mobility issues, they do have potential drawbacks to consider. One of the biggest disadvantages is that they can be expensive to purchase and install, often costing several thousand dollars. Additionally, they can take longer to fill and drain than a traditional bathtub, which can leave the user cold and uncomfortable while waiting to open the door. Another consideration is that the door on the walk-in tub can be a tripping hazard for some users, and some models may have a high step-in height that may not be accessible for all individuals and is too narrow to fit a transfer bench. Finally, depending on the size of the bathroom, a walk-in tub may not be feasible or may require significant modifications to the existing plumbing and electrical systems.
If this is the case, a barrier free shower may be a more ideal, and more affordable option. You can find models that fit into the footprint of your existing shower/tub and can be paid off in two months. A clean-cut tub is another option that uses your existing tub to create a step-in shower. No need to remodel, just a simple visit from your handy man.
For those that have trouble getting up from a sitting position but are able to function independently otherwise, investing in a lift chair, lift bed or hospital bed can offer the support then need while maintaining their independence.
This is also true with the use of mobility aides for those who need that extra bit of stability. From basic walkers to electric scooters and wheelchairs, modern mobility aids are designed to navigate tight turns and store in small spaces making them ideal for use in the home.
Some people may be hesitant to install upgrades like stair lifts or grab bars because they worry it will decrease the value of their home or make it less marketable in the future. However, many of these modifications are designed to be easily removed if needed. They can be seen as a selling point for potential buyers who may have mobility issues themselves or may be considering aging in place. For example, a barrier-free walk-in shower is often seen as a more desirable and safer option than a walk-in tub, but if a homeowner decides they would like to switch back to a standard tub in the future, the shower can be easily removed and replaced.
Ultimately, personal preferences should be considered when deciding whether to stay in one’s own home or move to a facility. Some people may prioritize independence and control over their daily routines, while others may value the added support and socialization opportunities of living in a facility. It’s important to explore all options and determine which one aligns best with one’s own personal preferences and needs.
If you are in the process of determining the most affordable and beneficial course of action for you or a loved one, reach out to All-Star Medical and let us help you identify what may be needed and provide you with equipment prices. There is no need to do it alone and guess. Call the mobility experts at All-Star Medical.