Delaware’s Senior Class Is Aging in Place Gracefully

Adobe Stock/Trinette Reed/Stocksy

When the COVID-19 pandemic caused unrest within assisted living communities, these local experts found a way around it for seniors.

As COVID-19’s grip begins to weaken, Delaware seniors are looking to get back into their groove.

The pandemic caused panic and unease among senior and assisted-living communities, but now “people are open to moving into a community again,” says Esther Celamy-Williams, co-founder of Elite Senior Advisers. More than ever, she says, her clients want choices and personalized options.

“Tailoring to specific needs is definitely the way to go now,” she says. “No one wants a one-size-fits-all approach for themselves or loved ones.”

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That’s where experts behind Elite come in. Led by clinical nurses, the company provides personal consulting and senior placement advisement. For those aging in place, they provide coaching and home visiting services and act as liaisons with physicians and remodelers. Wheelchair bound? Need to install grab bars or a chair lift? Need help with cooking, cleaning, laundry or medication? They’ve got you covered. “People don’t always know how to navigate the senior healthcare field. We not only help come up with a plan but execute the plan for them,” she affirms.

Educating senior clients is what Scott Fulton does best. The brain behind Home Ideations LLC with a background in mechanical engineering, Fulton says—thanks in part to the shelter-in-place era—we’re seeing a huge boom in the home remodeling industry.

“Generally the movement is to make the home more interesting for all ages. Seniors want to move away from that stigma of, ‘This is an old person’s house.’ That’s not what they want it to look like from the curb or when they walk in the door,” he says. “They generally want things to be easily within reach, and open, flowing spaces. They recognize we’re all driven to convenience. So, how do you build in the convenience and save the aesthetics?”

Senior housing isn’t just about convenience and healthcare assistance anymore—modern grandmothers crave living spaces that are also open, stylish and Wi-Fi connected./Adobe Stock | Trinette Reed/Stocksy

At the nexus of convenience and space-age beauty are innovative products like Stiltz, an in-home, tube-like elevator that looks like something from The Jetsons. They’re small enough to fit in a closet and can be used as a fancy dumbwaiter, too.

And as Zoom calls and FaceTime continue to fill in as reasonable facsimiles for personal contact, senior homes and facilities are following suit. “We’re coming across several building that utilize touch screens, iPads and tablets for FaceTime,” Celamy-Williams says. “A lot of newer buildings and older ones that are thinking outside of the box are coming up with innovative ways for seniors to use interactive tech to connect with the outside world and loved ones.”

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For those looking to bring the outside world into their own homes, Fulton says to focus on a clean and practical entry into the house. Beyond just curb appeal, a home’s entryway represents its connection with community. “It’s more than being able to come and go from your house,” he explains. “It’s about: Can your friends, neighbors and relatives come and visit you easily?”

Fulton, who chairs the National Aging in Place Council, says the buzzword in today’s industry is “lifestyle.”

“As people get older, they become far more conscious of their lifestyle choices,” from diets to community life to daily habits, he says. Senior communities and assisted-living facilities, in turn, are working to connect the dots and appeal to specific lifestyle ambitions.

In the modern world of senior living, those choices are more abundant than ever.

Related: Meet Delaware’s Top Teachers Making an Impact on Education in 2021

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