If you're wondering whether you should remodel your home to make it more senior friendly and safe or to move to an assisted living campus you may be getting confused as to which option is the best. The truth of the matter is everyone's situation is different and you should weigh the pros and cons of each before making your decision. Here's a look at three key areas you should examine before you decide.
Determine exactly what a certified aging in place remodel would cost. While you can hire a handyman to install bathroom rails and a ramp a full house remodel is much more detailed. It takes into account the accessibility, safety, and maintenance of all areas of your home both inside and out. It also looks to the future so if for example you have a two story home you may not be able to climb the stairs in a decade or two or you might need a live-in caretaker at a later time in life. Contact two or three certified aging in place contractors to determine exactly what your home will require, and remember you'll need to live around the construction modifications while the remodel is taking place.
On the other hand, an assisted living campus already has the aging in place features built in. Most communities offer different levels of care so you can stay in the same apartment throughout your life and all maintenance is provided. Doorways are wider to accommodate wheelchairs, there are no stairs to maneuver and the kitchen and bath is built with senior safety in mind.
You may get sticker shock when you receive the estimate of your certified aging in place remodel. It will most likely include many little things you never considered such as wider doorways and hallways, a walk-in tub, and lower countertops and cupboards in case you need wheelchair accessible areas at some point. You may be able to pay for the modifications through a home equity loan, non-profit organization, or federal grant.
An Assisted living campus has all the costs included in the rent. While it may seem high at first glance it includes your utilities and you will no longer have to pay for property taxes, lawn care, or maintenance inside and out. Most communities include meals, activities, entertainment, and transportation to appointments in the rent so you're overall cost of living will probably be lower.
While a certified aging in place remodel is designed to allow you to stay independent in your low-maintenance home there is no guarantee that will be possible. Your home may need a new roof or similar major repair in the future, and you may not be able to keep up the exterior and interior maintenance. You may at a future date need daily assistance or a live-in caretaker which may or may not be affordable.
An assisted living community has already taken these possibilities into consideration. All the work is done by staff so you never have to worry about repairs or maintenance, and if you need more care in the future you will simply be moved to a higher care level. For example, you may be fully independent when you move in and will just have a staff member check on you once a day. In a decade you may need help with daily personal care chores or remembering to take medications several times a day so you'll be switched to a higher care level and get assistance every day.