Adjusting to the "new normal" of life during a pandemic can make you think about aging in place. Boomers who have been self-isolating or at least largely staying put while COVID-19 rages around them have already experienced what aging in place may feel like. The impact of the pandemic on assisted living and nursing home staff and residents only reinforces the desire of many Boomers to remain in their homes for as long as possible.
Research conducted by AARP suggests that an overwhelming percentage of aging seniors -- more than 90 percent -- want to stay in their current homes as they age. However, there are all kinds of things related to aging in place that should be taken into consideration. Aging in place can have both a positive and negative side when it comes to home safety, for example. On the positive side, wise Boomers are making a concerted effort to modify their existing homes so they are safer, more secure habitats. On the negative side, some Boomers adamantly refuse to make needed modifications if they do not want leave their homes, creating a situation that could easily result in tripping, falling, or severe personal injury.
Another area for serious consideration is caregiving. Aging in place means living independently, but the older you get, the more likely it is that you will need some form of help. According to the National Aging in Place Council, half of all men 65 and older and 60 percent of women will need a high level of personal care at some point. The Council indicates that three-quarters of seniors with long-term care needs live at home, and nearly two-thirds of them receive all of their help from family members and friends. If you need compensated care, more than half of the cost for that care is typically paid out-of-pocket -- unless you have long term care insurance.
While long term care insurance can be expensive, it may be a wise investment that ensures peace of mind for the future by covering assisted living care and services. Long term care insurance policies also may have additional benefits. Age Assured is one innovative example. According to Assured Allies, the provider, Age Assured is "a free, voluntary program for insurance policyholders who want help continuing to live at home while they age, made available through their long term care insurance provider. The program pairs people who want support with an 'Ally'- an experienced aging professional - who learns about their specific needs and coordinates a personalized aging plan. The program includes access to ongoing support from a trained Ally, services at home and support for caregivers. Aging specialists are able to pinpoint what’s needed, starting with the simplest and easiest fixes."
An increasing number of products and services are rapidly coming to market as America's population grows older. If you're a Boomer who plans on aging in place, be sure to do some research and find out what's available to you. A good place to start is knowing what it costs to grow older. Below is a link to a PDF of a free comprehensive handbook, The Costs of Aging, from the National Aging in Place Council.