Extend Your Life At Home – Safer, Happier, Healthier, Wealthier, and Longer

I’ve touched on this in many different ways over the last 18 months since we started EtMM as a website in early 2012. But I felt this was a good time to summarize and get to some of the main clear points of why this is our mission statement (click for a short video on why we started EtMM) in conjunction with ADM Architecture and the services we can provide to you and your family. Our tag line at EtMM states “Dramatically improving our clients’ ability to live a longer and happier life at home.” Here’s the just of why we believe that, and how we can do so:

1) SAFER: Good design can keep you safer. How you layout a room, transitions between rooms, maneuvering areas within a room, and even your furniture, can all play a role in making the use of your home safer for you to live there independently. Getting a professional to help you design your (or your parents’) living environment will go a very long way toward keeping you or them in the home they want to stay in. 89% of AARP polled folks want to stay in their residence as long as possible. Safety is a major key to this outcome, and it takes good planning and design to help avoid falls, minimize risks within the environment. You have to WANT this, be AWARE of it, and want to FIX IT to make your home the best it can be.

2) HAPPIER: Again to that 89%, it is WHAT WE WANT. Most people don’t like change, and NO ONE wants any change forced upon them. But that’s what happens after a fall & injury, or unforeseen illness. AUTONOMY MATTERS, and it is part of

our pleasure in life. The ability to decide things for ourselves and be in CONTROL of our decisions and situation are VITAL to our happiness and emotional health. We are happiest in our own homes and communities. We are happiest with our PETS, with our GARDEN, with our neighbors, and with FAMILY willing and able to come visit us. These are things you are forced to give up for the most part, when you are forced to enter the CCRC continuum of care in a facility setting like assisted living or a nursing home. I know my own kids don’t really like to visit “facilities” or hospital type settings. You can see it in their body language.

3) HEALTHIER: AARP polls also show that staying in your own home can ADD UP TO 7 YEARS to your LIFE! In Chicago at the ASA national conference where I spoke this spring, one of our co-presenters Dr. Patrick Roden explained this well in the terminology of “Environmental Press”. The “USE IT or LOSE IT” concept of mind and body. Having things to do, decisions to make, and even problems to solve, are all a part of being a home owner. Even if you aren’t the one getting on the ladder to

clean the gutters out, just having to do the research, find someone, hire them, etc. is all good exercise for your brain. Being a pet owner and having to take them out to the bathroom and pick up after them is still good for your body while you can do so. CCRC’s take all of this “environmental pressure” to perform, away from you. So what will happen? You’ll LOSE IT. You don’t ask as much of your body and mind when meals are cooked for you, lawns are mowed for you, halls and bathrooms are cleaned for you. You lose PURPOSE in life, and it shows very quickly in case studies and personal stories I’ve heard in interviewing others on the subject.

4) WEALTHIER: We’ve written a white paper titled “There’s $500,000 Hiding in Your HOME” which goes into much more detail about this, but the point is how much you can SAVE by MAKING your house work for your extended independence, to prolong the (not IF, just WHEN) move to any facility setting. In our state the national average for a private room in an Assisted Living unit is $51,000 per year, or $4,250/mo. For a room in a Nursing Home it’s $95,995 per year, or $8,000 per month. When I speak publicly, I ask if anyone in the audience has a $6,000/month mortgage payment… (and I follow with “if you do, I’m ADOPTABLE!!) No one pays that for their own home, and it freaks them out to see those costs.

By comparison, you could have me design your home modifications for an accessible kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, residential elevator, wider hallways, doorways, etc. Even if you spent (a very high estimate) of $150,000 on that remodel with a HELOC loan (Home Equity Line of Credit) assuming you have decent equity in your long term house and a reasonable FICO credit score, and at 5% interest, you’d only be paying $750/mo. For that construction loan you borrowed. Sounds a lot better than $4-8,000 per month, right? AND you get to STAY in your HOME! Now we can even add to that benefit, as you’ll read below…

5) LONGER: So beyond that construction loan you borrowed to make your home more user friendly and accessible for everyone’s ease of use and longevity, NOW your home works better for you today, independently, and will work better for both

you and your caregiver in the future as well. Most accidents in the home happen in the “wet rooms” (bathroom, then kitchen, then laundry typically), and are either someone trying to maneuver on their own, or even a caregiver trying to help and work with an existing home design “as is” and doing the best they can with poorly selected fixtures and laid out spaces. But for you, now in your safer home design, You have A LOT of money left over (compared to the CCRC choice). SO, when you do need some minor help with “ADL’s” (activities of daily living, an occupational therapy term) – things like housekeeping, cooking, transportation to doctor appointments, bookkeeping and bills, yard care, etc. – and at the end of the year (compared to those CCRC choices) that house remodel loan and part time care have ACTUALLY SAVED YOU $30,000 to $50,000 per YEAR! So, if I can show you how you could stay home and independent for an extra 10-15 years (a very realistic timeline when the house works and you can afford the help) before moving to a CCRC setting, I’ve also shown you how to SAVE $500,000 in your RETIREMENT YEARS!

So if any of this makes sense to you, and you are willing to THINK AHEAD and PLAN your future vs. having an accident or illness dictate the rest of your life and the decision making being taken away from you (or a loved one), the place to start is an IN HOME ASSESSMENT. ADM Architecture does this as a professional service, as do some interior designers and occupational therapists. In our opinion (again DIMES vs. DOLLARS) having professionals help you with your solutions IN ADVANCE is the key to a successful outcome for many years and even decades of increased independence and longevity in your own home! Give us a call if you need help or a referral in your own city or area of the country!