Aging in Place – Frequently Asked Questions
What is AIP?
Aging in Place, commonly shortened to AIP, is when a person makes the conscious decision to stay in their home as they age. In order to do so, they may incorporate home modifications to improve their living conditions and maintain a good quality of life. Some of these include meeting the needs of any health, social, or emotional concerns through renovations or remodeling. When their physical needs are met, a person can pursue a comfortable life in the residence of their choice well into retirement.
What should I be thinking about for AIP?
If you think you’d like to age in place, it’s important to start planning as early as possible so you are prepared for any changes in your health or mobility. If you are making the choices now, you can have better control over your quality of life in the future.
The first thing you should do is have a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) assess your home and determine if it can meet your needs as you age. Depending on your situation, the next step to take is to make some changes, including widening doorways and installing a chairlift.
Who do I turn to for advice?
One of the best people to turn to when starting an AIP project is a CAPS professional. These professionals are trained to understand and address the unique needs of older adults and help figure out efficient ways to improve a home, whether it is through simple aging-in-place home modifications or major remodeling projects.
Most importantly, a CAPS professional will be able to recommend updates to help you:
- Live independently
- Develop a plan based on safety and functional needs
- Work with a contractor to design an attractive home with modifications
- Provide information on building codes and standards to make sure everything is up to date
Will AIP improvements affect the property value of my home?
AIP improvements will affect the property value of your home – but in a positive way. Many people are looking to age in place as they grow older and are searching for homes that already include the modifications they would need to live comfortably.
Having a home elevator could add significant value to your home, for example, but no matter what modifications you make, it is likely your home’s resale value will increase.
Can my home be modified without looking institutional?
Yes! If you’re looking for an aging-in-place home with a design that can be used by everyone, universal design is the way to go. Universal design can be found in most aging-in-place projects and focuses on the convenience and function of a home by making it safer, easier to use, and more comfortable. When integrated well, universal design becomes almost invisible and you’ll be left with a home that doesn’t have an institutional look.
Is AIP affordable?
The cost of an AIP project depends on the expected needs of the individual. While simply widening a doorway could cost between $500 and $2,500, installing a walk-in tub could be substantially more. When you compare these prices to those of an assisted living facility or nursing home, however, the costs are negligible.
On average, the cost to live in an assisted living facility is $43,539 for a year. The cost to live in a nursing home can be upwards of $92,378. Even with insurance to offset some of the costs, many find these prices difficult to maintain. During an aging-in-place project, the cost to incorporate accommodations may seem expensive at first, but there are no hidden costs.
Is assistance available to pay for it?
If someone is unsure they have the funds readily available, there are many ways to make the costs more manageable:
- Durable Medical Equipment (DME): Some items, like a stair lift, could be considered DME and may be covered by insurance. The cost of labor will likely still need to be paid by the individual, however.
- FHA Title 1 Loans: These loans are available through a HUD-approved financial institution and work like a mortgage. The owner of a single-family dwelling can borrow up to $25,000 for home renovations.
- USDA Rural Repair & Rehabilitation Grant: This grant is available for anyone who is at least 62 years old, falls under a specific income minimum, and plans to use the money for repairs and improvements to their home for health and safety.
- Energy Efficiency Programs: Low-income seniors can receive grants through the Weatherization Assistance Program if they plan to make modifications that improve energy efficiency in their home
- Department of Veterans Affairs: If you are a veteran, there are several programs available through the VA. For many of these programs, eligibility is dependent on the disability rating and disability status of the home.
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Where do I begin?
If you are considering an aging-in-place lifestyle, the next step is to find a certified aging-in-place contractor that has experience and can help you determine what types of modifications are needed to make your home safe and comfortable for years to come.