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When Seniors Decide to Stay Put

By Dawn Papandrea / Posted on 20 August 2009

boomeraterThis guest blog post is contributed by Boomerater, a free online resource for Baby Boomers helping you find everything from a New York financial advisor to great trips with your girlfriends. Seniors for Living contributes its senior housing properties to Boomerater’s local directories including Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Care, California retirement living and more.

A new Q&A discussion from Boomerater’s forums appears here each Friday. In this week’s post, members share their experiences about aging in place.

Boomerator Question:
iStock_000000940971XSmallMy mom and dad are in their 70s and in good health. They have told me they would never consider leaving the home they have lived in since they were married, and where they raised all five of their children. With the high cost associated with assisted living and the loss they will probably take in the real estate market, I can also see the financial benefit of them staying in their home. I’d like to hear from other boomers who have helped their parents stay in their homes successfully. What are the modifications to make the home safe and what else should be considered?


  • They should consult a financial planner and develop a budget for current and changing financial needs. With an attorney they should draw up a will, and an advanced health care directive, and any other documents their attorney deems necessary.
  • An architect, residential designer or accessibility contractor can look at the existing floor plan to see how it could be made fully accessible, incorporating elements of universal design so that the space will serve them well into the future. Think about the following:
  1. Would a dish drawer make more sense than a regular dishwasher? Should your oven be at a lower height? Should it have a door that lifts up?
  2. Is there a bedroom on the main floor? Or is there a den or bonus room that could be converted to use as a bedroom? If they don’t have a shower or bathtub on the main floor, is there a half bath or a laundry room? There may be a way to reconfigure existing rooms to accommodate an accessible stall shower as well as a front loading combination washer/dryer that takes up less space.
  3. If it has steps, add ramps. Add lifts on the stairs or a pneumatic elevator if necessary, but ensure that they have a good fire escape route and exit route during a power failure.
  4. Instead of door knobs, change to lever handles.
  5. Make the property wheelchair accessible. Most wheelchairs are between 27-28 inches wide. With knuckles on either side you should allow a minimum door width of 32 inches.
  6. If your plan includes a future time when in-home care providers may be required, modify the house in such a manner that you have a minimum of 2 bedrooms so that you may accommodate overnight staff. Two great resources on Universal Design are http://www.adaptiveaccess.com/about.php wheelchair accessibility adaptations and http://www.universaldesign.org/resources.htm
  • One of the biggest hurdles was losing the ability to drive to doctors, veterinarians, senior centers, etc. Ask the local hospital, senior center, or local agency on aging (AAA) or Council on Aging (COA) about transportation resources for seniors in your area. My parents had a companion who came in twice a week to drive them to doctor appointments, the grocery store, the library, to have their hair cut, etc. Eldercarelink.com can refer you to pre-screened companions in your area, as well as adult day-care, home care, assisted living services, etc. Peapod.com is national service that delivers groceries from local stores. Most drugstores deliver prescriptions without a fee and drugstore.com can ship a huge variety of products.” If you don’t have a local store that delivers, netgrocer.com is a backup, though its shipping is expensive. My parents also used Meals on Wheels to get a hot meal brought in everyday.

Find out what others had to say about aging in place on Boomerater.com.

There is One Comment about this post

  1. I think that a grab bar in the shower or a tub would be a simple and affordable modification. Grab bars don’t need to look institutional. There are different options from a corner soap dish or maybe a towel bar that look like a grab bar. http://gamburd.com/invisia-corner-shelf/


    on 22 August 2009 / 5:56 PM


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