Let’s get it out there in the open, shall we? We don’t like to think about dementia. For those of us with Alzheimer’s and senile dementia in our family history, it’s a topic we probably don’t even touch in our silent thoughts most of the time because it’s just too painful. But if you’re working through the experience yourself OR if you’re dealing with the painful transition of a loved one as they undergo the changes that come with various forms of what is usually age-related dementia, then you know that there is a serious DEARTH of assistance out there for people living with this issue. In fact, if you have the early stages of dementia or if you have a loved one in these early stages, very few living options present themselves unless you are willing to go ahead and go into a home or move in with that loved one, two options that most people simply are not prepared for.
So how can a real estate investor help in this arena, and help his or her business in the process? Well, as more and more Americans say that they wish to age in place, regardless of physical or mental capacity and ability, it is becoming more and more important to be able to offer properties that either are equipped for aging in place or that offer optional upgrades, additions, and renovations to enable the homeowner to do so. Particularly when it comes to dementia, those upgrades far exceed the traditional handrails or even electric chairs that might help a homeowner climb stairs, but new “smart” appliances and other smart electronic options can help homeowners and would-be homeowners live on their own even for DECADES after an initial diagnosis if their health also permits.
If you are interested in investing in this type of real estate, you’ll definitely want to explore some of these new, groundbreaking options. For starters, you’ll want to select appliances that are dementia-friendly, meaning that they are designed to maximize user safety, even to the point of having stove knobs on the side of the stove or along the front rather than at the back in order to avoid potential injury from reaching over a hot surface. While this is a safety issue for anyone, the perceptual issues that may come with dementia and that many people do not know about can also make it harder to avoid simple injuries that most of us circumnavigate without much consideration.
Next, consider the welfare of the disabled homeowner’s caretakers. Various apps and smart appliances and devices will help them determine if and when the homeowner leaves, how often the fridge is opened and what is inside (many people with dementia forget to eat long before their other symptoms become a problem) and the temperature in the home. Furthermore, rooms should be designed with clear purposes (kitchen for cooking and eating, living room for visiting television, bedroom for sleeping) rather than with the easy, flowing environment common and popular in many open-design homes. These visual clues will help a homeowner who has an unsettling tendency to forget what they came into a room for recall their initial purpose, say experts.
Finally, design with dementia in mind. This means avoid overstimulation of the senses, since they can become elevated and hypersensitive as dementia progresses. Physicians say that bland, neutral colors are important, but stronger, darker colors as accents can provide some variation without creating too much “business” in the space.
Of course, simply designing a safe, smart, somewhat décor-muted home is just the start. Investors who want to cater to a growing community of homeowners who either have dementia or have concerns about aging in place need the right marketing and the right geographic area for their business to thrive. Check out our report, “How to Market to the Aging-In-Place Crowd” in the REI Today Vault at www.rei.today/vault, or, if you’re not yet a member, text REITODAY no spaces no periods to 33444 and I’ll immediately send you the information you need to get that access and ALSO provide you with fast, immediate access to all sorts of great trainings, news coverage, interviews, and lot more timely information that will help make your investing safer, faster, and more profitable.
And remember, when you do that, you’ll also be able to GROW YOUR NETWORK by interacting with me and your fellow listeners to REI Today… so stop by to ask questions, make comments and network with other investors across the country. Text REITODAY no spaces no periods to 33444 or head over to www.rei.today/vault right now.
REI Nation, thanks for listening in and always remember this:
Your best investment is your own education.
Carole Ellis is the host of Real Estate Investing Today, a popular 9-minute daily podcast focused on educating real estate investors about the important topics that will make their investing SAFER, FASTER, and MORE PROFITABLE. She's also the editor of the Bryan Ellis Investing Letter. She has more than a decade's worth of experience in and reporting on the real estate industry and, additionally, has written dozens of courses on the topic. Carole lives in Kennesaw with her husband, Bryan, and four children. She believes wholeheartedly that your best investment is always your OWN education.