At a time when many seniors should be enjoying their well-deserved retirements, some are instead having to make tough choices about whether to remain at home or relocate to a retirement community. For those who want to stay at home, our team at Accredited Home Care is always willing to discuss options and work with your providers and caregivers so you have a positive, stimulating, and healthy experience in your own comfortable environment.
But sometimes there are mechanical reasons that make it difficult for people to receive quality care at home, which may require them to have to leave the home they and their family have lived in for years.
For instance, a small home may only have a small entrance and exit that may not accommodate a wheelchair. Steep stairs, no handholds, and other design flaws could make a home pretty much difficult or unwelcome to someone who wants to receive home health care. Even worse, not everyone has the budget for this level of home improvement, making it even more of a challenge.
If someone does want to downsize and move to a care facility, and their provider/caregiver recommends it, that’s fine with everyone. But if they want to stay home, then there aren’t as many options.
However, one option could be coming from Washington, D.C., that can help seniors stay in their homes longer and possibly stimulate local economies in the process.
Congress has been tackling something called the Senior Accessible Housing Act for the last few sessions. So far, supporters have been unsuccessful in getting both houses to vote on it and a president to sign it, but the concept does seems to have support.
The latest version was introduced in the House of Representatives in March by Rep. Charlie Crist, R-FL, and was sent to the Ways and Means Committee, where it remains.
If it becomes law, it would change the Internal Revenue Code to allow tax credits of up to $30,000 to be used for homeowners over age 60 who want to make repairs and renovations and expansions to their homes in order to “remain living safely, independently, and comfortably.”
Further language specifies different types of modifications that would be covered under this. It would encourage people to invest in their own home improvements meaning that it will help them stay independent and remain in their homes when they have medical needs.
Along with halting people from having to relocate, often unwillingly, to a care facility, this effort also could also improve their overall safety – such as someone trying to “make it work” in a home not designed for their medical needs.
Specific improvements that can be funded in the bill include:
- No-slip flooring.
- Guardrails or grab bars
- Ramps at entrances or exits for wheelchairs or people with difficulty with stairs
- Wider doorways
Plenty of benefits
The Senior Accessible Housing Act also picked up the nickname the “Aging in Place” Bill because of its potential to allow people to stay in their homes rather than disrupt them to move elsewhere.
It does have a lot of appeal, not just to patients who will benefit from the measure.
- Family members who don’t have to help a loved one move and can also help with caregiving if needed.
- Area contractors who may be eager to perform the work.
- Home health providers who will have the opportunity to help more people. These agencies may also have to add more skilled people to handle the extra demand, another plus for the industry and local workforce.
- Neighborhoods and local communities, that may enjoy relying on the same friendly faces for generations.
So with all the possible benefits, does the bill have a chance of becoming law? It’s difficult to say, especially with the unique challenges of this particular legislative session. We don’t want to be political but it’s not news that lawmakers have had challenges getting much passed, from routine funding bills to larger-scale bills. And the new presidential administration definitely has plenty on its plate.
After lawmakers return from their summer break they may be willing to tackle different bills, especially ones that aren’t as divisive or politically risky as health care revamps or tax code changes. Or, because things move slower in the Beltway, it may need to move to next year’s session and gather more support — but it could also benefit from more people contacting their lawmakers and reminding them about this one.
Senior care options
Whether or not the bill ever becomes reality, it does present a good opportunity for everyone to learn a little more about home health care options. Any age or medical condition can benefit from regular visits from caregivers, skilled nurses, clinicians or other medical and therapeutic positions.
Even something relatively minor like help with meal planning, laundry or basic housekeeping can go a long way in brightening someone’s day and helping them feel a little more supported and connected. Accredited Home Care can provide all sorts of activities on a regular basis to allow you continue living I the safety and privacy of your own home.