Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What’s the Cost of Not Remodeling a Senior’s Bathroom?

What’s been bothering me lately is that I’m meeting all these wonderful seniors, and I can see that they would be safer and happier after remodeling their bathroom for safety, but they resist spending the money.  It’s hard—they’ve learned to be frugal and they have to juggle spending on the basic necessities of food and prescriptions with an investment in remodeling. 

So that got me to thinking what were the costs of not remodeling the bathroom?  There may not be any immediate costs, but as we get older, we get frailer.  Then I can only see three options.

Option 1:  Live in Your Own Home with Remodelled Bathrooms

Live in your own home for life and remodel your bathrooms for safety and comfort. Remodeling a bathroom is going start around $8,000.  The final cost depends on needs. Some need a comfort height toilet and grab bars.  Others want a whole retrofit with a walk-in shower or walk-in bathtubWall-hung vanities are nice too for ease of access.

In addition to that, at some point the senior may need some care at home.  I checked out the Genworth 2011 Cost of Care Study and discovered that in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, home care costs an average of about $21 per hour.   If you had 4 hours of help a day the annual toll would be $29,000. Another option is adult day care: 5-days a week in the Philadelphia, PA area runs around $19,000.

So option 1 is starting to sound expensive, but let’s look at options 2 and 3. 

Option 2:  Live in Your Own Home with no Modifications

Live in your own home with no safety modifications to the bathrooms.
With this option you can cut out the initial investment and just pay for the care if needed.  But there’s a catch.

There’s an increased risk of broken bones due to the risk of falling.   According to the Center for Disease Control, falls are the most common cause of fatal injury in older adults. One out of every three adults over the age of 65 will fall this year.  Many seniors slip when they get into or out of the shower or bathtub or on and off the toilet.

Also, falls are the leading cause of fatal injury among seniors and more than half of these injuries occur in the home.  Approximately 40% of nursing home admissions are due to falls. 
So without the initial investment in bathroom remodeling, the odds increase that the senior will end up in a nursing home.
Option 3: Move on to an Assisted Living Community or Nursing Home.

If a senior ends up falling at home and is re-routed to a nursing home, or decides to pack his bags and move to the nursing home rather than remodeling his own home so he can stay there, these are the annual costs he would face according to the Genworth 2011 Cost of Care Survey:

  • Assisted Living Philadelphia, PA area:  $56,130
  • Nursing Home Philadelphia, PA area:  $100,061 (semi-private room) - $106,033 (private room)
  • Assisting Living New Jersey:  $55,440
  • Nursing Home New Jersey:  $105,303 (semi-private room) - $113,880 (private room)
Bathroom Remodeling Prevents Injuries and Saves Money

Remodeling your own home, particularly the bathroom which is the most dangerous room in the house, is often not only the most cost effective solution, it’s an investment in safety, quality of life and your future.

Bye for now from George Flowers.

Tell us your stories of home remodeling successes that have enabled people to live life at home as they age.

Do you know anyone who has had a life-changing fall at home? Tell us about it so we can educate others.

1 comment:

  1. You are so right. The cost of not remodeling can be over a $100,000 dollars a year! I have found the same response in my accessible home modifications business; trying to educate the senior market to the risks of falling and not being able to continue living independently, is a major problem that needs to be addressed.
    Thanks for your bringing it to our attention!