Services Can Help Older Adults with Aging in Place

By: Bill Eller

The COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately, is influencing our lives in many ways and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future – including how older residents in your community approach retirement and aging in place.

And there are 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day, with an estimated one-in-five of the population expected to be 65 or older within the next ten years. Before the pandemic, 76 percent of Americans 50 and older expressed the desire to age in place, or to remain in the homes and communities where they have spent their lives.

Not only will it be less expensive for many people to remain in their homes, even if they need to retrofit their homes to help them age in place safely, but many older adults depend on the social and support networks that they have spent a lifetime building in their communities.

The pandemic has cut a deadly swath through elder care facilities throughout the country, with residents of nursing homes making up an estimated 42 percent of those who have died from the coronavirus. In some states, more than half of deaths occurred in elder care facilities. That will leave a pall over the choice to enter an elder care facility for some time.

As attractive as aging in place is, there are some things older residents should do to prepare themselves and their homes for aging in place safely. For example, some changes to older residents’ homes, such as replacing doorknobs with levers, widening doorways, installing grab bars and swapping tubs for easy-access showers.

As an elected official there are changes that can be made in your community, related to transportation, public spaces, walkable neighborhoods, social engagement and more, to assist seniors.

When talking about assistance at home, many people’s minds will go to in-home aides, which, while obviously an important piece in helping older adults staying in their homes, isn’t the only one. Entrepreneurs have seen the need to be filled to assist older adults to age in place, and there are more and more services available to assist with  errands and day-to-day tasks or offering telehealth and companionship.

Between all this is a gap – home maintenance. Home maintenance is one of the things that older adults struggle with the most, and, as the home ages along with the owners, many of the whole-home systems, such as the plumbing, electrical or HVAC, need some TLC. Although some issues older adults may not want to tackle because of limited mobility, many issues need a professional touch.

During this pandemic, people, especially COVID-vulnerable older adults, want to know about the technicians coming into their homes – are they following safety precautions to protect themselves and their customers from the pandemic? And then there are unscrupulous contractors who will overpromise and underdeliver, providing shoddy and possibly unpermitted or unsafe work.

As an elected official, how can you help older residents with the home maintenance issues, while ensuring they’re protected from the pandemic and charlatans? By partnering with the NLC Service Line Warranty Program, you’ll give your residents access to our nation-wide network of fully vetted contractors. All our contractors undergo background and drug screening and are fully licensed and insured. We also conduct post-job satisfaction surveys to ensure a great customer experience.

Our program also offers generous coverage for water, sewer, gas and electrical service lines; interior plumbing, drainage and electrical systems; and HVAC systems with no call-out fees or deductible for a low monthly fee.

The program has an educational aspect, in which we work with municipal partners to inform homeowners of their service line responsibilities – something of which many homeowners are unaware. Our municipal partners review and approve all educational materials and they are mailed to residents at no expense to the city.

For more information on how we can help your senior residents age safely and securing in your community, contact us.