From her first step into the colorful world of Oz, Dorothy wanted to go home. At her young age, she intuitively knew that “there’s no place like home.”
“Aging in Place” means that you can continue to live in your home independently, comfortablyand safely. Common sense tells us that most people will choose this option. And, statistics back this up. Recent AARP research showed that 89% of the 50+ population want to remain in their homes – or at the least in their community as long as possible.
We all value living independently – staying in control — but most of us don’t adequately plan for the inevitability of facing potential physical, cognitive and financial challenges. We treasure the familiarity and comfort of both home and community. But few consider that the house you purchased with all the comforts and amenities for an average American family is not safe and secure as you age. (In the next post on July 15th, I’ll discuss some basic remodeling ideas that you’ll want to plan for to enhance accessibility and safety in your home as you age).
It’s never too early to plan how you will spend your hard-earned income and assets to maintain your desired quality of life in your senior years. Too many procrastinate until a crisis occurs. In a crisis scenario, the individual needing the care frequently ends up with little or no control over his or her future. This happens when families don’t ask the important questions before a crisis occurs. AARP has developed an excellent publication titled “Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Families which you can download at www.aarp.org/foundation/preparetocare.
As the nation grows older, caregiving decisions for the elderly will be as commonplace as planning for child care. As you probably already know, the outlook presented by the factors below is daunting:
- Health care costs will continue to increase for the foreseeable future
- Social services will continue to decrease – a casualty of balancing the U.S. budget
- The national median for a private room in a nursing home is $77,745 per year*
- The national median for a private room in an assisted living center is over $39,000*
Aging in Place is surely the most cost effective option when compared to institutional living. And just as important is the quality of life experienced. With institutional living, even in the top-rated assisted living communities, you will experience a loss of independence, control and privacy. As we approach the annual celebration of America’s independence, you need to stop living in the State of Denial. If you value your individual independence and freedom – and what American doesn’t – now is the time to start planning for your living options as you age. A good start is to click on the video at the link below to view an informative ABC news segment on living options for aging parents featuring Diane Sawyer and Cokie Roberts.
*Genworth 2011 Cost of Care SurveyGenworth (NYSE:GNW) Financial is a leading Fortune 500 global financial services company that employs approximately 6,500 people with a presence in 25 countries.