As you approach retirement, it is normal to contemplate what lifestyle and living arrangements might suit you best. If you are like many, you might be inclined to stay in the place that you have called home for so many years. However, if your health is on the decline, it could be necessary for you to downsize or to live in a community which can provide you with assistance in managing your lifestyle including your activities of daily living. Fortunately, whether you are living at home or in the community, there is an opportunity for you to age in place.
What Does It Mean To Age In Place?
Aging in place is all about you living where you want to live for as long as possible. Most often, people think of aging in place as living in their own home until they die, but it could also include living in a community – such as an assisted living facility – which provides a range of services to fit your changing needs. To age in place, you might have to rely on the assistance of someone or something to help you maintain, if not improve, your quality of life. You have to take into consideration your health, your current living situation, finances, among other things to determine the best path forward.
How Aging In Place Is Impacted By Your Health
Your health is one of the biggest determinants as to whether you can continue to stay at home. As you get older, you could face a variety of health challenges including a reduction in strength, mental acuity, mobility, hearing and vision. You are typically at an increased risk of injuring yourself or falling ill. Getting older can cause you to struggle with things like bathing, dressing, moving around, cooking, cleaning, socializing, and maintaining the upkeep on your home. Some people manage the decline of their health better than others.
Depending on your limitations, you might be able to live on your own as the majority of seniors prefer. However, you might be one of the many seniors who needs a little more help but are opposed to being dependent on your spouse or other family members to assist you. Should you fall into one of these circumstances, then to avoid a reduction in your quality of life, you could bring in someone to your home to assist you in a variety of ways, with care that could range from helping you with simple tasks to providing you extensive assistance with your activities of daily living.
Aging In Place At Home
If you are staying at home, be prepared to spend money on remodeling your home so that it is more accessible for you. Some of the ways people do this is by building ramps to accommodate wheelchairs, placing support railings on steps, and improving lighting. Part of your plan may involve the use of family caretakers, health aides, nurses and therapists or other people who can come to your home occasionally or regularly to provide you with assistance in managing your lifestyle including your activities of daily living.
If you hire a homemaker – which is someone who mainly assists with housekeeping, transportation, meal preparations, and companion services, then this will generally cost around $52,000 per year in Indiana according to the 2019 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. If you hire a health aide – who can assist with activities of daily living including bathing, transferring, toileting, eating, dressing and continence, then be prepared to spend slightly more.
Aging In Place At An Assisted Living Facility
Perhaps you have needs that are best met in an assisted living facility, also known as a senior living community. An assisted living facility could consist of townhouses, apartments and condominiums. Your living space might be private or shared with others.
In an assisted living facility, you have more hands-on assistance and have quick access to limited medical staff who are usually on site. In this setting, as you age, staff at the assisted living facility are able to tend to your needs and can offer a wide range of services including help with daily activities, medication distribution and management, community recreational activities, transportation, meal service and supervision on a daily basis.
You might be a candidate for an assisted living facility if you are:
- Able to walk but you might need some assistance
- Able to converse coherently and can understand directions
- Willing to receive help
- In need of some personal care but are still able to handle your normal daily activities
- Not in the late stages of dementia
Notably, with such a large scope of services offered by an assisted living facility, you may not need to relocate if you need additional help. In effect, you are aging in place. In Indiana, assisted living facilities cost about $49,000 per year on average. Alternatively, for those requiring more comprehensive medical care or supervision, a nursing home might be the only way.
Nursing homes in Indiana cost approximately $84,000 per year on average if you are sharing a room, and approximately $102,000 per year for a private room. See the previously mentioned 2019 Genworth.com Cost of Care Survey. According to Section 3006.00.00 of the Indiana Family & Social Services Administration’s Indiana Health Coverage Program Policy Manual, Indiana’s average monthly cost of care in a shared nursing home room is $6,681 ($80,172 per year) as of July 1, 2020.
Indiana offers public benefits programs like Medicaid which can assist you with paying for long term care. To learn more about long term care planning, consider consulting with an elder law attorney. The attorneys at Hawkins Elder Law have decades of experience helping countless clients with Medicaid planning strategies as well as estate plans that are tailored to their needs and which provide for the effective management and distribution of their assets. Founders Jennifer J. Hawkins and Jeff R. Hawkins are Board Certified Indiana Trust and Estate Lawyers, certified by the Trust and Estate Specialty Board. Get in touch with Hawkins Elder Law by calling (812) 268-8777 or by contacting us online.
About the Authors
Jeff R. Hawkins and Jennifer J. Hawkins co-author the Hawkins Elder Law blog with Thomas E. Hynes, a lawyer who is admitted in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida with a background in estate planning and elder law.
Jeff and Jennifer Hawkins are Trust & Estate Specialty Board Certified Indiana Trust & Estate Lawyers. They are also active members of the Indiana State Bar Association and National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Both lawyers are admitted to practice law in Indiana, and Jeff Hawkins is admitted to practice law in Illinois.
Jeff is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the Indiana Bar Foundation. He is also a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Indiana Association of Mediators. He served as the 2014-15 President of the Indiana State Bar Association, and he is a registered civil mediator.
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