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Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-11-2007, 04:19 AM   #1
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Preparing for old age housing

How many of you are preparing for your needs in old age in terms of your house.

When we were looking at houses a few years ago we ran into a builder that was building houses with age related problems in mind. The house was not compliant with the architectural designs specified for handicap people... however, they were design to be able to easily accomodate people if certain types of health problems occurred. Specifically aroung mobilty. For example one of the shower was a large and had a flat floor that would allow a chair to be wheeled in. The doors were oversized (wide). Wider hall ways. His houses wer typically ranch style. It was setup such that other areas could be retro fitted easily without having to do alot of demolition.
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Re: Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-11-2007, 07:07 AM   #2
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Re: Preparing for old age housing

When we had our "retirement home" built a few years ago, we did some things looking toward the future. Ranch style home, wide hallways, wide doors, but we stopped short of installing hand grips in the bath/shower or including any other age friendly items.

Our thinking was not so much towards our old age (we will probably relocate back into the city at some point), but towards the possibility one of our elderly parents might have to move in with us. Since three of them died between the time we started construction and had been in the house for a year, it doesn't look like that will be the case.

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Re: Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-11-2007, 10:38 AM   #3
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Re: Preparing for old age housing

This is one of the factors that will have us sell and move to a smaller home. My DH is 10 years older than I and we have a 2 story home with the master bedroom up stairs. While we could stay in a home that was larger than we needed, because we like the location, neighborhood, etc. I know we will need to move at some point. so, we will try to look for something that can be adapted as we age.
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Re: Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-11-2007, 10:48 AM   #4
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Re: Preparing for old age housing

This was a consideration when we built our house 3 years ago. Wider halls, larger shower to accomidate wheel chair, wider doors, all on one level. MIL was living with us but has since gone to a Dementia Care Unit. DW and I still think it was a good choice to do this as we do not see selling in the near future and we may need these features in the future.
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Re: Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-11-2007, 11:01 AM   #5
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Re: Preparing for old age housing

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
... but we stopped short of installing hand grips in the bath/shower or including any other age friendly items.
Some of the new hand rails/grips are very attractive -- don't look at all like the older ones that seemed more appropriate for an assisted living facility. After taking a very nasty fall in the bathtub several years ago, we had hand rails installed in each bathroom. Didn't cost much and with the new installation techniques, the wall tile was not damaged. Strongly recommend for everyone!
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Re: Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-11-2007, 11:09 AM   #6
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Re: Preparing for old age housing

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
When we had our "retirement home" built a few years ago, we did some things looking toward the future. Ranch style home, wide hallways, wide doors, but we stopped short of installing hand grips in the bath/shower or including any other age friendly items.
Same here, but we just bought ours instead of building it. And the back deck ramps up rather than using stairs, which also comes in handy for moving furniture. And we have a nice view, so when we're senile, we'll have a simple source of constant entertainment. And visiting nurses and doctors will enjoy hanging out at our place.
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Re: Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-11-2007, 05:35 PM   #7
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Re: Preparing for old age housing

Quote:
Originally Posted by chinaco
How many of you are preparing for your needs in old age in terms of your house.

When we were looking at houses a few years ago we ran into a builder that was building houses with age related problems in mind. The house was not compliant with the architectural designs specified for handicap people... however, they were design to be able to easily accomodate people if certain types of health problems occurred. Specifically aroung mobilty. For example one of the shower was a large and had a flat floor that would allow a chair to be wheeled in. The doors were oversized (wide). Wider hall ways. His houses wer typically ranch style. It was setup such that other areas could be retro fitted easily without having to do alot of demolition.
That sounds so cool! When I retire, move, and look for a house I would find features like this to be really attractive and would prefer such a house to others that aren't so nicely equipped for the elderly. I am not counting on finding something like that, but it would be a nice incentive to buy.

Old age or not, I *love* large showers with flat floors (especially with pretty tile), and the hand grips would be nice to have as I get older. A substantial bench seat at the end of the shower could be convenient for an older person who isn't wheelchair bound, too.

Large doors and wide halls are great to have, even now. It makes it SO much easier to get furniture in. Besides, a wide hallway can provide plenty of "gallery space" for family photos, small artwork, and such.
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Re: Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-11-2007, 06:46 PM   #8
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Re: Preparing for old age housing

You are describing our house, except that the shower has a lip. We designed it to accomodate my mother who has Parkinson's and a friend with MS. Then, when DH's knee joints wore out (both now replaced) the design paid off.

In a couple years we intend to move closer to the kids. I hope these features will be appreciated by the buyers of our home.
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Re: Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-13-2007, 08:26 AM   #9
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Re: Preparing for old age housing

We are thinking about moving into a 55 and over community in about 10 years or so. I understand most of them also have an assisted living component -- the final destination. Does anyone live in one of those communities? If so, what do you think of it? The social element appeals to me.

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Re: Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-13-2007, 12:14 PM   #10
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Re: Preparing for old age housing

Please think long and hard when signing in to one of these life care communities. I personally know a couple who did just that and bought an apartment in a very very expensive community when they were in their late 60's. The woman developed Alzheimers and in time needed the "life care" part of the deal. To say her care was substandard is like saying hell is just a tad toasty. She died and her husband grew old and when he got into his late 80's, his eyesight became poor. Other younger residents complained that he bumped the walls with his electric cart and that he slopped soup on himself and got it all over the fine linen tablecloths. They complained that he left his laundry for over an hour in the washer after it had stopped and that he came to church service with one brown sock and one black. The management, rather than tell their oh-so-fabulous residents to mind their own damn business and cut the old guy some slack, decided that he was no longer able to continue in his $500,000 (early 80's) apartment and needed to go to assisted living. He is in his right mind and of course threw a royal fit. They pointed out that his contract said that it was management that decided when a resident needed extra care. (Oh I forgot to mention another one of their yardsticks to prove that he needed more care was that he had dribbled urine on the floor next to the toilet. Any male here who hasn't missed once or twice please raise your hand!) He is miserable in the little room they have him in now. There is no room for all his medical books (he was a cardiologist)and none of his "friends" from his old hallway ever stop up to see him. He just waits to die. It positively disgusts me that his own peers would not be more understanding of his frailties. Life can sure suck!
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Re: Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-13-2007, 12:55 PM   #11
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Re: Preparing for old age housing

My grandparents moved into an transition-lifestyle community-- S.E.M. Laurels around Milford near Cincinnati, OH. They were quite happy with the place as they went from an independent two-bedroom apartment (Grandma died there) to full care. Geez, they must've been there for over 20 years. I don't remember how the decision was made to move Grandpa from the apartment to the full-care facility but he was at least one if not two years into full-blown senile dementia. My father was quite happy with Grandpa's 14 years of care at the facility and I never saw any problems during my visits.

But before I'd move into something like that, I'd want to thoroughly explore the "end state" living arrangements and understand who's in charge of the transition decisions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Want2retire
That sounds so cool! When I retire, move, and look for a house I would find features like this to be really attractive and would prefer such a house to others that aren't so nicely equipped for the elderly. I am not counting on finding something like that, but it would be a nice incentive to buy.
Old age or not, I *love* large showers with flat floors (especially with pretty tile), and the hand grips would be nice to have as I get older. A substantial bench seat at the end of the shower could be convenient for an older person who isn't wheelchair bound, too.
Large doors and wide halls are great to have, even now. It makes it SO much easier to get furniture in. Besides, a wide hallway can provide plenty of "gallery space" for family photos, small artwork, and such.
Our current abode has a second floor (master bedroom) and a step down from the diningroom to the familyroom. Half the yard is a steep slope with overgrown fruit trees that need a lot of care. Not exactly elderly-friendly, and I can see that it's gonna be a problem someday.

Our rental home is all on one story with plenty of elder-friendly features. However it's near a noisy intersection, the master bedroom is on the street (instead of at the back of the lot), it's surrounded by yappy-dog neighbors, it lacks our current view, and it gets a lot less of the tradewinds. If I'm deaf, blind, and totally without bodyfat then I guess none of that would be a problem.

I'd rather exert the effort & expense now to make our current home more elder-friendly. Whirlpool tubs don't last forever, either, and I appreciate a wheelchair walk-in shower stall (with bench seating) a lot more than I used to. Xeriscaping and a chainsaw will take care of a lot of back slope problems. So I guess I have at least one bathroom renovation in our future and maybe that master bedroom will move downstairs in three or four decades.

I'd rather age in place until I'm not me anymore. Afterwards I guess I won't care.
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Re: Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-14-2007, 05:13 AM   #12
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Re: Preparing for old age housing

Quote:
Originally Posted by shoe
.... He is miserable in the little room they have him in now. There is no room for all his medical books (he was a cardiologist)and none of his "friends" from his old hallway ever stop up to see him. He just waits to die. It positively disgusts me that his own peers would not be more understanding of his frailties.
He might have an ADA law suit. But he signed a contract. I guess one needs to read the fine print and have a lawyer help them understand the implications.
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Re: Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-14-2007, 08:14 PM   #13
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Re: Preparing for old age housing

DH and I plan to age in place so with any remodeling we do will take this into consideration. The term for this is Universal Design and there is a lot of information on the subject on the net. (What did we do before the net?)

AARP has definitions and links and the Hartford Insurance company had what was called the Hartford house which was a mock up of a home adapted for the elderly. With a little know how and creativity your home does not have to look like a long term care facility.

We have a three story house so are planning to install a stair climber and maybe a dumb waiter in the house. We are in the process of planning a remodel (total gut) of the master bath so we will incorporate a lot of universal design concepts in the new bathroom.
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Re: Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-14-2007, 08:19 PM   #14
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Re: Preparing for old age housing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Surreal
We have a three story house so are planning to install a stair climber...
Stair climbers have become affordable and are an easy non-invasive retrofit.
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Re: Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-14-2007, 11:19 PM   #15
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Re: Preparing for old age housing

I am amazed at how often people don't research continuing care communities. There is a certification program, for example. The care facilities are inspected by the state, inspection results for those that are medicare/medicaid certified are available on Social Security's website.

There is an excellent book, "Where shall we live when we retire" that discusses what to look for in these communities.
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Re: Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-15-2007, 01:04 PM   #16
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Re: Preparing for old age housing

That is very true there is a lot of information out there and it pays to do your homework. For DH and I, we could never choose that as an option. Both of us worked for many years in the Long Term Care industry. We have seen it inside and out. Moving to a Continuing Care Community would be like going back to "gulp" work.
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Re: Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-15-2007, 02:05 PM   #17
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Re: Preparing for old age housing

Understood.

As with anything else it takes good research. It's not just CC communities.. free-standing assisted living and nursing homes vary a lot in quality. I think each of us should know what what is available and appropriate for ourselves and our parents. I have been in the situation where a parent unexpectedly needed nursing care, and I was clue-less. Never again.

For myself I will move to one of a short list of CC communities and am on the list of one. The good ones have wait lists years long. If they have an opening and I am not ready I just pass on the vacancy. I can pass again and agin until we are ready.
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Re: Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-15-2007, 07:55 PM   #18
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Re: Preparing for old age housing

This is a good topic. My dad mentioned visiting CC communities but I don't think he got on any waiting lists. I really need to ask him about it. Brat, I can't imagine getting on the wait list at this point, at age 57! But thanks for bringing up the topic!
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Re: Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-16-2007, 07:27 AM   #19
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Re: Preparing for old age housing

57 is too young to get on a wait-list but not too young to inquire and keep an eye on their typical wait-list time. I am 10 years his senior.
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Re: Preparing for old age housing
Old 04-16-2007, 03:07 PM   #20
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Re: Preparing for old age housing

We are planning on building a house in the next couple of years. Part of our design will be taking into account that we plan to spend our dotage in this house. We will ask the architect to take that into consideration at the design phase, ie. no stairs at the entrance to the house, double front door, minimise hallways and where they are essential make them wider than normal, large showers easy to get in and out of. If we do build double-storey we will have a master suite both upstairs and downstairs to accommodate possible changing needs over the years.

The other benefit in the short term will be the ability to manouvere furniture in and out. I am so tired of small doorways with pokey hallways which makes moving furniture in and out a logistical nightmare.

As a childless couple we realise at sometime we will need to move to an assisted facility. As Brat says it is never too early to enquire and get your name on the list. Some of these places take 5+ years to offer you a place, so it's better to get on the list whilst you don't need a place, than scramble to get on a list when your need is dire.
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