The trickier part of creating aging in place solutions for our clients is finding equally good, attractive, or functional designs for a fraction of the cost of the higher end options.
Just because someone has a limited budget is no reason they can't enjoy quality aging in place solutions to help them remain in their homes more easily and enjoyably by creating greater safety, accessibility, and comfort.
Some seniors are living on fixed incomes and may not think they can afford any improvements - even though they might admit that some tweaks would be helpful. They may even have some physical conditions that cry out for solutions. This is where we need to be creative in identifying appropriate changes for their home. Sometimes, making just one or two improvements because that is all someone can fund will begin to enhance their lifestyle and general comfort level in their home. Finding an alternate funding source for them is another option.
There are many non-profit organizations, local and national governmental agencies and programs, and support and advocacy groups that may be able to step in and help - with funding (loans or grants), products (new or refurbished that they can pass along that have been donated or otherwise made available to them), labor (volunteer or staff), and templates (work that has been done successfully in the past for homes of a similar age or condition).
Lower income seniors and others requiring help to improve their homes to facilitate a higher quality of life and more safety could certainly benefit from the same types of services as higher income households. Nevertheless, just by making one, two, or a handful of improvements - at a very controlled budgetary amount - could make a world of difference for them.
Serving people that need a lot of work done in their homes and have a substantial budget for accomplishing it gives us tremendous latitude in selecting improvements to include. On the other hand, people with a restricted or limited budget can still be the beneficiary of our expertise and solutions. We just have to be more creative and innovative.
Steve Hoffacker, CAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Master Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.