More and more of us are caring for our parents. A MetLife Mature Market Institute study on caregiving costs to working caregivers found that while in 1994 3% of men and 9% of women over 50 were providing care to a parent, by 2008 that had risen to 17% and 28% respectively. The study found that more than one third of caregivers providing care to older adults either leave the workforce or reduce the hours they work. These 9.7 million caregivers lose an average of $303,880 in wages and retirement income over their lifetimes. Direct costs of providing care for our aging parents were estimated at $5,531 per year for each caregiver. The choices that we make allocating our time and resources when we are caring for aging parents or other loved ones can be quite difficult and heart wrenching.
As you know if you have read Housing Matters before, I am a strong advocate for helping our seniors remain in their own homes for as long as possible. The physical, mental, and emotional benefits to remaining in a comfortable home environment where we have many fond memories is well documented. As an additional advantage, the costs of home care are considerably less. However, as this study points out the additional costs and strains on family members can take its toll. One way that this added responsibility can be eased is through remote activity monitoring. I have written about the Simply Home® system several times in Housing Matters, most recently in the July edition. Simply Home ® allows seniors to continue to live independently while still providing the peace of mind that comes from knowing a loved one or a trained responder at the call center will be notified immediately if there is any indication that something is amiss. Also by assessing the home environment and making modifications to improve safety and comfort, the probability of falls is greatly reduced. Studies show that in 2007 more than 18,000 older adults died from falls, and in 2009 2.2 million fall injuries were treated in emergency rooms, with 581,000 of these patients being hospitalized. An ongoing project is being conducted at Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia to develop a sensor that will be able to predict an increased chance of falling before it happens by measuring small changes in gait, posture, and mobility. As the age wave crests, (Approximately 10,000 of us will be turning 65 each day over the next 20 years) new and innovative solutions will continue to be developed. I will continue to espouse the benefits of Universal Design that will create homes that can be used by everyone to the greatest extent possible, without the need for specialized alteration and modification. In the meantime I will continue to make home modifications to make my clients home safer, more comfortable, and more accessible. Home modifications can be as simple as adding a grab bar or swing clear hinges, or as elaborate as adding an elevator or an overhead lift. If you or a loved one is struggling to remain in your home, please get in touch with us at Solid Rock Enterprises, Inc. Our phone number is (540) 384-2064 and our website is solidrockenterprises.com. We would be delighted to help you age in the place you love….HOME.