Personal assistants, chefs and drivers, concierge services, medication management — it sounds like the perfect recipe for luxury home care services. And for celebrities in Hollywood, that’s just what it is.
Receiving personalized help at home is a booming trend among older red carpet regulars looking to age in place without having to make any big changes.
Entertainment insider Lisa Johnson Mandell, HGTV’s longtime West Coast correspondent and founder of AtHomeInHollywood.com, gave HHCN the scoop on this trend and more during a recent phone interview.
“When celebrities get older, instead of going into a [senior living] home, they hire assistants,” she says. “They downsize into a smaller condo and if they’re not capable of making their own decisions then they hire someone to take care of them.”
In some cases, it’s not just one person who takes care of them, but many.
Personal chefs and assistants are popular among the VIP crowd, as are physical therapy and exercise coaches, she says. Additionally, older celebs hire people who can help them manage their medication or simply make sure they’re OK. Companionship services also seem to fall under this umbrella of celeb home care.
“I live in a neighborhood where a lot of entertainment professionals live … and every day when I’m out walking the dog, you see lots of home health care professionals pushing around older people in wheelchairs and just getting them out into the community or walking with them as they walk their dogs,” Johnson Mandell says.
However, the A-listers’ push to age in place begs the question: Are their homes aging-friendly? The short answer is no — well, not exactly.
“We’re a vain lot here in LA — in Hollywood and the entertainment industry in general,” Johnson Mandell says. “People are more reluctant to outfit their homes so they’re visibly more accessible; they’d be more inclined to hire assistants who would do things for them instead of retrofitting their homes.”
But, aside from their at-home services and assistants, there are a few ways in which their homes are suitable for aging.
“For so many people right now — I’d say the majority of people over 60 whose kids are out of the house — one-story dwellings are in such high demand,” Johnson Mandell says. “Nobody wants to deal with stairs anymore.”
Another specific feature, emergency communication systems such as panic buttons, are also popular.
“Retrofitting your home in that respect is a definite trend,” Johnson Mandell says. “You can never get help when you need it fast enough.”
Finally, the old adage “location, location, location” also helps celebs age in place, as they consider proximity to health care.
“They start thinking, ‘What if something happened to me — if I fell or got my medications confused? If an emergency [were to arise], how far am I from [care]?’” she says. “’Am I up in the hills barried in Bel Air or closer to the city where I could get to a hospital sooner?’ Even if it’s 20 minutes closer in a Los Angeles neighborhood, that means a lot. Life’s too short to waste in a traffic jam.”
Written by Emily Study