Boomers Want to Age in Place with Help from Tech, Upgrades
More than 80% of seniors want to age in place for as long as possible — and they plan to make home modifications and use the latest technology to do so.
For the survey Aging in Place or Assisted Living Facility: Where Do Retirees See Themselves Living, the Retirement Living Information Center asked 2,300 adults 50 and older about their living preferences as they age. Of the respondents, 1,819 were age 62 or older. The overwhelming majority said they want to live at home as long as possible, and 75% reported they don’t plan to leave unless health matters force them to relocate. For 30%, losing the ability to drive would make them move, said Retirement Living content manager Jonathan Trout, who oversaw the study.
“What stood out mostly was it felt like people saw assisted living as a kind of last resort,” he said. “Even with push factors, people said they would rather stay at home and have home health care or an aid instead of living in an assisted living facility. It’s surprising because its 2018 and a lot of the assisted living facilities are nice.”
Asking about home modifications, Trout said 75% of respondents planned to make the most modifications in the bathroom, with “grab bars, walk-in tubs, and non-slip mats.” On the exterior, respondents said wheelchair ramps and improved lighting would be ideal.
A last minute addition to the survey, the question of technology use brought in interesting results.
“When compared with another peer research study, it looks like older adults are starting to consider technology if it helps them age in place,” he said.
The question asked about respondents’ likelihood of using medical alert systems, grocery food delivery, ride share apps, activity monitoring systems, online pharmacies, and stair lifts.
“Online pharmacies were the largest piece of tech that people were interested in using,” he said, with medical alert being another popular option. 53% of respondents said they would use online pharmacies.
As for the fear of the loss of driving, Trout said ride share apps like Uber and Lyft could be a convenient solution.
“It will be a big deal and at least help you be independent longer,” he said. “Ride shares alone — you could still go out to eat, go out to a concert, or visit family just by using Uber or Lyft.”
While this study did not address the costs of aging in place, Retirement Living has addressed this issue in the past, offering suggestions on ways to access home equity — such as reverse mortgage. Home Equity Conversion Mortgages have long been a solution for funding home upgrades, and Medicare Advantage plans will begin to offer some aging-in-place modifications, as well as some types of in-home care next year.
Article by reversemortgagedaily.com