My maternal Grandmother, who was 84 at the time, broke her hip in her own apartment. Lucky for us, an attentive Meals on Wheels driver determined she was hurt and called for help. My Mom made the decision to move her Mother to a "retirement home" as soon as she was discharged from the hospital.
Our search was short lived ... there were only three assisted living facilities in Corvallis (Oregon, 1989) at the time. I remember thinking "there is no way there will be enough retirement homes for us baby boomers ... we will have to figure out an alternative solution".
There are approximately 76 million boomers born between '46 and '64 who are, or should be, thinking about where and how they will be able to age in place while considering proximity to:
- health care facilities
- grocery shopping
- entertainment and hobbies
- places to socialize
- senior support services
Consider this excerpt from the White House Council on Aging Report ...
"Beginning January 1, 2006, on average, a new 60 year old was celebrating a birthday every seven seconds, and these celebrations will continue for another 18 years. The impact of this demographic shift will affect every level of our social, economic and political systems"
I predict there will be a growing number of Last-Time Home Buyers in the near future. Their goal will be to create a living environment they will never have to say good-bye to. This can be accomplished in part due to the growing number of in-home care services and companies who sell and install home modification equipment.
The Last-Time Home Buyer will be smart to seek out help from a real estate agent who understands the fundamentals of Aging In Place. An agents knowledge of Universal and Barrier-Free design is extremely helpful to evaluate the potential of living space in an existing residential home.
Lets face it ... if you are a baby boomer like me, chances are slim to none there will be a bed waiting for us in an assisted living facility. It's going to be up to us to make our own beds ... and to sleep in them.