Don’t SLIP… One FALL could land you in BANKRUPTCY!

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“Prevention is one of the few known ways to reduce demand for health and aged care services.” — Julie Bishop

I had a discussion recently with a family friend over lunch, who was struggling with a grim reality.  They were discussing the possibility that they needed to consult with a Bankruptcy attorney or quit paying their mortgage and let their house go back to the bank.  When I asked them why, how did it get to this point, the succinct answer was “medical bills”.  I’ve heard this type of story before, and having to hear about it yet again, I felt the need to do a little research on the topic statistically.  The epidemic is a growing one here in the U.S. and it’s a topic that pertains to (and closely ties into) our desire to help people retrofit their homes to “Age In Place”. The talk had me thinking… “Wow, a FALL in your HOME could literally land you in bankruptcy!” In my research for this blog, I ran across a few reputable pieces of literature that were worth referencing and worth the read.  The first one, Medical Bills Drive Americans Into Bankruptcy As Many Struggle To Pay Debt posts statistics that imply that medical-related filings have almost doubled in the past two years compared to the previous two years.  The other article, Medical bills make up half of bankruptcies has a sub-title of “Study finds most bankruptcy filers had health insurance.”  Ouch!  That’s a tough pill to swallow (yes, pun intended). Our efforts to educate the public though our radio show and our public speaking engagements over the last three years are specifically in the vein and effort to share our passion and hope for PLANNING AHEAD for a successful “Aging In Place” experience.  Home modifications are a valuable (and cost-effective way, compared to nursing care facilities) way to add years to your life and your safety in your own home.  It’s also a value when it comes to making your retirement money go further for you! (I’m writing a white paper on that topic right now, to be available soon.)  HOME: It’s where you want to stay for the remainder of your life, as a first preference (for the vast majority of those polled by AARP).  You want to keep your house, it’s your HOME.  You want to keep your pet.  You want to keep your garden. You want to hold on to your memories there.  You want your family to continue to come and visit in a place they are comfortable in.  You want to keep all of your things, your furniture, your pictures, and all of your personal items too.  We offer a professional in-home assessment to share the ways that you can do that. An “Aging In Place” solution – It’s different for each client, for every person and their family, their own situation, their own home, their own abilities and challenges.  A full systems “turnkey solution” takes a team of professionals trained and suited to the specific demographic to best assess the right solution for your mom, dad, spouse, or friend.  We feel we’re one piece of that professional solution team, as a CAPS “Certified Aging In Place Specialist” through the NAHB, and a licensed Architect as well.  We also feel that a full solution could include “other players” such as an O.T. (Occupational Therapist), and a CAPS certified G.C. (General Contractor) as well.

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“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – Benjamin Franklin

I know there are some great medical alert systems out there for our older population, and I’m always appreciative of all the technology and R&D work going into products that help us stay safe, like Philips Lifeline  as an example, among many others.  There are also some really good resources out there to help you decide if / when is the right time to incorporate such protections. Does my loved one really need automatic fall detection?

    • Have you or another family member ever witnessed your loved one fall?
    • Do they live alone, or is their spouse still living?
    • Are they beginning to “shuffle” their feet rather than take complete steps?
    • Are there trip hazards around the home like throw rugs, areas where the floor is uneven, or rooms that have different floor types like carpet, ceramic tile, vinyl, or hardwood floors?
    • Every time you go from one room to another and it’s a different floor type there is a “threshold” between the rooms that creates a trip hazard.
    • Do they have to use stairs to get around in their home?
    • Does your loved one need to step into a bathtub to use the shower?
    • Do your aging parents think they can still do just about anything on their own, and you have worries every time you see them doing it?
Daughter with Mom

Answering these questions may help you decide whether you or your loved one should seriously consider a system with automatic fall detection features. That said, we’d like to help you avoid the fall TO BEGIN WITH, and stay SAFER, AT HOME, for LONGER, with a full system “turnkey solution” for Aging In Place. Safety at home, and modifications that make your home work better for you specifically, can add years to your happiness AT HOME, where you want to stay.  We’ve discussed in some of our other blogs ideas on the wide variety of ways (both on a budget and a more complete home remodel) that you can update your built environment for a successful continuation of your life and care at home.  Lighting, flooring, appliances, technology, daylight, floor plan layout, improvements to the acoustics, inconspicuous and elegant grab bars and grip assistance devices, counter heights, material colors and textures, and the list goes on. Whether you are very independent and living on your own, or you require daily assistance with “in-home care”, home improvements can keep you home longer, and can potentially keep you out of the attorney’s office discussing bankruptcy too.  PLAN AHEAD, and reap the “savings” in all facets of your life.  Save your home.  Save your lifestyle.  Save your happiness.  Save your SAVINGS.  Get educated on “Aging In Place”, and reap the benefits for your rest of your extended life in your OWN HOME.

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