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Lack of Accessible Homes Creates Uncertain Future for Seniors and Families

Accessibility remodeling makes aging-in-place an option for our loved ones.

It would be difficult to find a single person who wants to make the heartbreaking and financially devastating decision to put a loved one in a nursing home.  But all too often, families don’t see an option as their home is not safe or accessible for someone with a disability.   According to the National Council on Disability, 94% of home owners between the ages of 65 and 85 have a disability.  Unfortunately, the majority of homes in the U.S. fail to meet the accessibility requirements of seniors.  And, while they would like to continue to live independently, aging in place isn’t an option when bathrooms are not accessible, doors aren’t wide enough and stair ramps aren’t available.

In the North East alone, 2.3 million homes are occupied by someone with a disability of which 95% use a mobility device such as a cane, walker or wheelchair.  The lack of universal design (homes that are accessible to as many individuals as possible) in many of these homes causes serious safety hazards for the occupants.  In over 50%, someone has a problem getting in our out of the tub or shower, only 33% have a wheelchair accessible bathroom and only 153,000 have ramps.

These common accessibility issues are some of the primary factors preventing seniors from aging in place.  In fact, once someone is admitted to a nursing facility for rehabilitation after a stroke, fall or other injury, their caregiver must demonstrate that their home environment is safe and accessible before they can be discharged.  The alternative to a safe and accessible home environment is an assisted living facility or nursing facility.  While this might be a necessity for some seniors who are significantly disabled, the number of patients admitted to a nursing home solely because of the lack of a home with the basic requirements for accessibility is quite large.  26% of nursing home residents needed no help with any Activities of Daily Living (ADL).  The cost associated with nursing homes is beyond the means of many Americans.  The average annual cost for residence in a nursing home in the North East is $128,000.00.

Too often, people don’t anticipate the physical decline of their parents.  But one fall or injury can have devastating consequences.  Discussing simple home accessibility modifications with your parents before an accident occurs can allow them to continue to live independently.  If, however, aging in place is no longer an option, another alternative to the financially and emotionally devastating choice of a nursing home is multi-generational living.

We at Accessible Home Living not only specialize in accessibility remodeling but are able to design and install handicap-accessible beautiful modular home additions that can be seamlessly attached and perfectly matched to the side of a caregiver’s home.  They are a fraction of the cost of a nursing home and can be installed in as few as 8 weeks.  They can be built as Studios, 1-Bedroom or 2-Bedroom suites with living rooms and kitchenettes.  It allows someone with a disability to maintain privacy within their own residence but close enough to a caregiver if they need assistance.  We handle the entire process from obtaining permits and dealing with zoning issues through to the Certificate of Occupancy being issued.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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