Recent studies show that it costs between $5,000 and 7,000 a month for nursing home care, a bit less if one selects a group home environment. But it can a whole lot more if the choice is to live in an independent living center with lots of amenities. Much depends of course on the type of care one needs and how much one can afford. But consider this,... spending $60K to 84K or more a year for five or ten years and we're talking significant dollars and cents.... upwards of a half a million dollars if you do the math.
Now consider these steps to make your home the home of a lifetime:
• Be thoughtful. What will you need to do to stay in place?
• Plan for your future. Think short term and long term as you plan your dream.
• And work the plan. Decide to make changes to your home - now - and ones that could allow you the option to "stay in place" should that decision have to be made by you for yourself, a family member or friend.
• And finally set a budget for this year to make even the most basic of changes,... then start working the plan.
• Here are ten cost effective things to do:
(1) Change all the knobs on your doors to handles. It just makes sense for so many reasons.
And in some cities, like Vancouver Canada, it is required by their building codes.
(2) Choose finishes, paints, lighting, building materials and flooring that reduce maintenance.
You don't want to be up on a tall ladder or down on the floor unless you can't help it.
(3) Plan to use balance bars not only in the shower but all thru the house.
They can add safety and security and if you choose those that are stylish, you'll add beauty.
(4) Weather strip and insulate doors and windows to save on energy costs.
This is a no brainier for any one at any age but especially for those with declining incomes.
(5) Consider sharing your home with someone else to save money and have companionship.
Multi-generational homes lower living expenses and can keep families together.
(6) Swap out toilets for dual-flush to reduce water usage & choose a seat height that is appropriate.
It is easier on the knees,...plus people are different sizes so pick a "chair height" toilet that 'fits best."
(7) Steps and stairs are challenging so now is the time to plan for at least one no-step entry.
Eliminate thresholds at the doorways. And gardens & berms can integrate ramps into the yard.
(8) Make sure the residence has a house number that can be easily seen from the street.
And light it up. Imagine what emergency people go thru to find a house at night.
(9) Getting doorways to be wider can be costly so as a first step, use off-set hinges.
They increase the jamb-to-jamb dimension by nearly 2" and just enough to make it easy to pass.
(10) And for those visitors who might be impaired, plan for a first floor accessible bathroom.
They will appreciate it and who knows, you might need to use it some day as well.
So there you go. Ten ideas for making a home a place for a lifetime. We added up the individual costs for making all of these changes and guess-timated the totals at just under $19,000. .. .. the largest cost being the accessible bathroom. Now consider that if you can stay in your home for the next 12 months by making many of these changes, you'll still be better off than spending $5,000 a month in someplace other than your own home. It is certainly cheaper if you can stay in place.
Your thoughts? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.