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[RENOVATE NOW] Most older adults unprepared to age in place

The vast majority of people over 50 say it's important that they keep living in their current homes for as long as possible. But a recent poll shows many of them haven't planned or prepared for "aging in place," and a sizable percentage might have a hard time paying for in-home help.  The latest National Poll on Healthy Aging suggests many people in their 50s, 60s and 70s need to do more to modify their homes or plan for services they may need if they want to avoid or delay needing to move.

In all, 88% of respondents between the ages of 50 and 80 said it was very or somewhat important to them that they live in their homes as long as possible. But only 15% said they've given a lot of consideration to how their home may need to be modified as they age, while 47% have given it little or no thought.

For example, while 88% had a main-floor bathroom and 78% had a bedroom on the main floor, which could reduce both the need to climb stairs and fall risk, fewer respondents had other features:  32% said had grab bars in the bathroom, and less than 10% had safety-focused technologies such as alarms on their stoves or personal emergency response systems. Only 7% said they had a barrier-free shower, and 9% said that it was difficult to use the main rooms in their home because of clutter or large amounts of possessions there.

Meanwhile, 48% of those who live alone said they don't have someone in their lives who could help them with personal care such as bathing and dressing if needed, compared with 27% of those who live with others.

Poll director Preeti Malani, U-M Medical School said that older adults should explore with their healthcare providers and local social service agencies the kinds of support available to them, and talk with family members and friends about their goals.

"Taking steps to understand what's available in the community, through the national Eldercare Locator, the Area Agency on Aging that serves your region, nonprofit organizations and other sources could help older adults be more prepared," she advised.

Download the full report here.


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