New York Times: Seniors, Nonprofits and Retailers Taking Action to Comfortably Age in Place

As aging in place becomes an increasingly important topic for seniors looking to avoid moving into congregate care facilities or for those who are simply averse to leaving their own homes, some seniors are taking a more active approach in finding new living spaces that can conform to their needs as they age. This is according to a story published last week in the New York Times.

“For the country’s swiftly growing older population, this safety-focused attention to detail is essential to healthy home life,” the story reads. “More often than not, changes are hurriedly made in response to a fall, accident or medical diagnosis. The website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that for adults 65 years and older, $50 billion is spent annually on medical costs related to nonfatal fall injuries and $754 million is spent related to fatal falls.”

This is further exacerbated by a phrase the reverse mortgage industry knows all too well: the “silver tsunami,” put into greater statistical context by the presented data from the Times.

“As baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 continue to age, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that people over the age of 65 will outnumber those under the age of 18 as soon as 2034,” the article says. “To address the needs of this rapidly growing population, AARP encourages its members to carefully consider ways to make their homes places where they can comfortably and safely age in place.”

Upgrades to accommodate changing needs during the aging process can begin simply, including the installation of task lighting in kitchens to accommodate for diminishing eyesight, multiple height countertops, as well as non-slip mats and grab bars in bathrooms, the article says. Well-known organizations across the country are also starting to more actively participate in this growing need including AARP.

“AARP recently introduced HomeFit, a free augmented reality app on iOS that can scan a room and suggest improvements to help turn a house into a ‘lifelong home,’ free from safety and mobility risks,” the article says. “It is an extension of the organization’s extensive HomeFit Guide, which is available online.”

National home improvement retailer chains are also getting involved, the article details.

“In early 2020, Lowe’s launched a line of room-specific merchandise online under the name ‘Accessible Home,’ featuring items such as shower seats, adjustable bed rails and non-slip mats for the kitchen that are compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act,” the article details.

Another well-known retailer’s efforts also get spotlighted in the story.

“Home Depot also entered the accessibility market last year with ‘Independent Living,’ a partnership program with National Seating and Mobility, which offers virtual consults and installation of products like stair lifts, wheelchair ramps and automatic door openers,” the article says. “Currently, the program operates in New Jersey and eight select cities including St. Louis, Dallas and Boston, with more stores planning to offer the service this year.”

Read the article at the New York Times.

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