We spoke to Gretchen Kingma, at Empowered Homes, to learn more about what she does, how she helps families determine whether aging in place is right for them, and what to keep in mind to protect your ability to stay home.
When I was in high school, my grandmother suffered from severe dementia and for some reason, I just absolutely loved spending time with her. I felt that even though her cognition was impaired, that she was impacted by the connection, and on top of that she was freaking hilarious. My mom always said that I was Grandma’s favorite, because everyone knew we had a special bond.
Fast forward to college, I had the opportunity to graduate early, and stayed in my college town working full-time as a caregiver for a 93-year-old woman named Maria. Much like my grandmother, I just loved spending time with her. While in Occupational Therapy school, I always favored the geriatric care cases and went on to become an OT manager at a massive senior living community. Now in my own business, I love advocating for seniors in a way that most don’t. I love providing creative solutions for seniors and their families when it comes to their housing needs!
Empowered Homes has been in business for 4.5 years and I am proud of being a resource offering multiple solutions.
I combine Occupational Therapy and Real Estate. I am able to help you weigh whether it makes more sense to modify your home in order to age-in-place, or whether you should sell and look for a new place. If staying put is the best option, my team completes home safety assessments and has the relationships to make my recommendations come to life.
PREVENTION and PLANNING are the keys to staying at home.
In order to maintain a happy healthy life at home I recommend all people, not just seniors, take a proactive approach. Be proactive when thinking about how your space affects your health and wellbeing. Be proactive when planning financially. Be proactive when thinking about the type of community you want to age-in-place in. All in all, BE PROACTIVE.
Educate yourself on and utilize technology within the home. There are so many great advances in tech to keep people safe at home. Everything from Amazon Alexa to auto-shut off stove tops. Lean in to the advances in tech to keep your loved one happy, healthy, and thriving at home!
The AARP Homefit Guide is a free PDF that offers great insights when setting up your home for success.