Deer Isle, Maine – The trend for seniors to remain at home as they Age-in-Place has become a reality of huge proportions. Nine out of ten people want to age at home, according to the website aginginplace.org. Ten thousand people a day turn 65 in the U.S. By 2030,as the last Baby Boomers turn 65, there will be 73 million seniors in the U.S.1 With this tidal wave of people living longer and choosing to age at home comes new and unique challenges for retirees and their adult children. Of primary concern is safety and accessibility for seniors at home. Eighty percent of all falls occur in the bathroom. Overall home accessibility modifications can greatly reduce the possibility of incidents and injuries at home.
Preparing and maintaining a home so that it works well for elders requires some insight, planning, and regular monitoring. In addition to the demands of senior care giving now comes the need to properly care for the home in which aging individuals choose to stay. An entire caretaking industry is emerging in response to this need–Senior Property Management.”Maine now has the largest population of people age 65 older in the U.S.,” said Bruce Matters, CEO of Coastal Caretakers, a C.A.P.S. Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist serving coastal Maine.
“Adult children responsible for bringing up their own children and for the care of their aging parents, the Sandwich Generation, need help, too, as their parents Age-in-Place,” he continued. “Certified senior property management services can easily alive much of the fear and worry, especially if adult children live far from their aging parent or parents.“
Once-a-week home and safety checks from a professional trained to know what to look for have proved successful in creating and maintaining a safe home.
“Aging-in-Place Specialists are the eyes and ears for family caregivers as well as adult children,” explained Matters. “They look for any type of hazard that could create an unsafe situation for a senior. We identify mobility challenges caused by clutter or poor accessibility; we check HVAC systems, windows, security issues, batteries in smoke detectors, outdoor steps and lighting…anything related to the home, inside and out. So many unpredictable events can happen in a senior’s home if you don’t remove obstacles. Senior property management is the easiest way to stay a step ahead,” commented Matters.
The State of Maine’s Office of Aging and Disability Services (OADS)has prepared the 2016-2020State Plan on Aging as a roadmap for meeting the needs of aging and physically challenged adults in Maine. The overall goal of Maine’s State Plan on Aging is to assist aging and disabled adults to maintain their independence and to live safely where they choose. Among other initiatives to assist its elder population, Maine has committed to support individuals to remain safely in their environment of choice.2 Governor Janet Mill’s Action Plan for Maine’s Economic Future includes the goal to create new Age-in-Place grant to finance communities’ efforts to make it easier for elders to stay in their homes and live independently.
“Our primary directive as C.A.P.S. Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists is to identify minor issues before they turn it to major problems and dangerous situations for seniors at home,“ concluded Matters.
1 Source: Institute on Aging
2 Executive Summary, Maine’s State Plan on Aging 2016-2020, www.maine.gov