Aging in Place: After Covid-19, the way we think about aging in Canada may never be the same. The future of healthcare for seniors is uncertain, but one thing is evident, says David McKie of the National Observer: “As the numbers are updated with frightening regularity, it’s becoming clearer that Canada’s long-term care facilities will be on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19 until we develop and distribute a vaccine. What remains unclear is whether there will be a meaningful discussion about ways to improve the level of care delivered at homes that for years have been hampered by staff shortages, inadequate funding and a lack of attention from policy-makers and politicians.”
It’s believed that around 90 percent of seniors (those aged over 65) prefer the idea of aging in place rather than moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility. Advances in medicine and technology such as mobility devices, telehealth services, and health monitoring tools are making it easier for seniors to remain at home longer. Aging in place isn’t the best option for everyone, but for those who have the option, the benefits of aging in place make the choice an easy one. Here are three such benefits:
- SAVES MONEY: The cost of living in retirement homes or other senior communities varies widely. Across Canada, monthly fees range from $1,475 to $6,000 with costs changing according to the size and location of the accommodation, the type of community, the care required, and the quality and number of amenities needed. This figure is equal to, if not more than the average Canadian monthly mortgage payment. Furthermore, by senior age, most homeowners have already paid off their mortgage and are living on a fixed income. So all-in-all, staying at home and aging in place, for many, is a financially sensible living arrangement.
- PROVIDES COMFORT : As the saying goes, there’s no place like home – a sentiment which doesn’t change with age. Home gives a sense of familiar comfort created from years of “nesting” and piecing together the personal, homely touches which make a night’s sleep in your own bed – the best night’s sleep. Something which is extremely important given that National statistics found that one-third of seniors (aged 65 to 79) sleep less than the recommended 7 hours. Harvard researchers say that the neurons which regulate sleep in the brain slowly die off as we age causing this shift in sleep patterns. Other studies have attributed a reduction in sleep to physical ailments, mental stresses or medication. As a result of this, it has become increasingly important for older people to be in a space which gives them a sense of comfort and familiarity.
- SLOWS MEMORY LOSS: Over 747,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of Dementia. Additionally, many elderly people who are not diagnosed with diseases linked to memory loss, will become forgetful as brains, like bodies start to slow down with age. Although there is no cure for degenerative memory loss, lifestyle choices can help slow the progress of certain conditions and provide a sense of security for those who may become distressed. Continuing to live at home can be helpful, as care in familiar surroundings reduces the risk of anxiety and depression.
As a result of Covid-19, home health care is expected to rise, as nursing homes and assisted living facilities may be unable to accept new residents or because more families will opt for alternative solutions, like adapting their homes and lifestyle to accommodate an aging family member.
Homes can be easily retrofitted to suit the needs of elderly residents who want to age in place. A chairlift can be installed, hand railings fitted, sensor lights put in place – all of which are simple changes that can be made to provide comfort and practical support. Basements, garages, and sheds can be renovated into comfortable and accessible living spaces. To keep construction requirements and costs low, homeowners should consider an alternative plumbing solution like Saniflo Canada when planning a bathroom, kitchen or laundry installation in these areas of the home.
Saniflo systems, which include macerating toilets and drain water pumps, require no excavation and virtually no maintenance. They can all be installed directly on top of any finished floor surface, even below the sewage line since they pump upwards. Unlike a sewage ejector system that stores waste in a holding tank, the waste and greywater from a toilet, sink or shower connected to an above-floor “upflush” Saniflo system is pumped up and away through small-diameter piping, rather than flowing down and out like conventional plumbing. When planning for aging in place, this allows for the creation of a new bathroom, kitchenette or laundry anywhere in the home, regardless of where the main drain stack or existing pipes are located.
The SANIACCESS 3® is a powerful macerating pump ideal for installing a complete 3-piece bathroom. It incorporates a fast-rotating, stainless-steel macerating blade to reduce waste and toilet paper in the flush water, which is immediately and entirely released under pressure through small-diameter piping to the existing sewer line or septic tank. These systems are clean, quiet and reliable so there are no leaks and no odours!
To create a functioning kitchen in a new space, the SANIVITE® drain pump can be used to install a sink and a dishwasher wherever it is most suitable. This unit features compact, quiet performance, and is so easy to install that homeowners can do it themselves in as little as a few hours.
These convenient and cost-effective plumbing systems are changing the way homeowners remodel their living spaces, making the option to have an aging family member live with them, aging in place at home more feasible.
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Want to learn more about the benefits of above-floor plumbing systems? Contact Saniflo Canada at 1-800-363-5874 or Saniflo.ca. Follow us on Facebook @saniflocanada and tell us how you believe this pandemic will fundamentally change the way we view aging at home.