There is an increasing desire for what has been termed ‘aging in place’ among older adults. In fact, 76% of older adults would prefer to stay in their own homes as they age rather than in old age homes. If you are thinking about what you can you do to plan for aging in place, there are a number of ways you can (and should) prepare your home to make it liveable as you get older. It is never to soon to start planning.
7 Ways to Modify Your Home For Aging In Place
Staying in your home while you age can make a lot of sense as long as you have a safe and comfortable living space. However, most homes are not naturally suited for older inhabitants. So, consider making these seven recommended renovations.
Identify Safety Hazards
Walk through your home or your potential home with a professional and trusted custom home contractor. Make a note of all the potential hazards in the house that could be an issue for you when you are alone.
Look out for things like sharp corners, decorative items that could fall easily, objects that clutter the walkways, or slippery surfaces. Take note of where electric switches and electric boxes are. You want to make sure everything will be within reach when you are alone.
Making a note of these things will help you know what you need to change or modify to make your home more liveable as you age.
Extending the doorways in your home is a very useful remodeling tip to get your home right for aging in place. The reason for this is that most homes do not easily cater to walkers or wheelchairs. The last thing you want is for moving around your home to become difficult.
If you widen the doorways throughout your house, you have a lot more freedom to move if you need a mobility aid.
You want to avoid a shower in your home that is difficult to get in and out of. Having a walk-in shower is much easier to use than a step-in shower or a bathtub.
These showers appear level to the rest of the room but are slightly dipped by the drain. A walk-in shower won’t have any steps or difficult doors attached. Installing a shower seat or handrails can also help make showering safer. This ensures that it does not have to be a nerve-wracking experience when you’re on your own.
Make Use of Handles
Installing handles throughout your home will ensure you never get stuck or caught in a difficult position. This is especially important where you have potentially slippery areas in your home.
The most advisable handles to have are in your bathroom. Install them next to the toilet to help you sit down and get up. As mentioned, install one in your shower as well for support as you stand on the slippery tiles.
Any steps or stairs in your home can be the cause of unnecessary stress as you age. They may become challenging to navigate if you are not steady on your feet or you rely on a walking aid. Ramps are an easy way to avoid this.
Contractors can replace any need for steps with a smooth ramp that caters to your height. This will allow you to easily maneuver between different levels in your home.
Improve Your Flooring
According to the CDC, falls are one of the most common home injuries. You want to make your floor as easy as possible to travel across. If you have older carpet that is shaggy or fraying, this is a tripping hazard.
Short carpet is much safer and still easy to use a walker or wheelchair over. The surface is still smooth but there is nothing loose or long to get caught up in.
If you have tiles or laminate flooring, be aware that this is a potential slipping hazard. Either get properly secured rugs to go on top or get a slip-resistant floor treatment put onto your floors. This treatment will improve the grip on your flooring so that you don’t have any accidental slips.
Medical Alert System
To put yourself and your family at ease, make sure you have an easily accessible medical alert system in your house. This can be in the form of buttons around the house or an app on your smartphone.
This button or app will alert your emergency contact immediately. It is a great safety feature to make sure you are always close to getting help if necessary.
Instead of having to plan to move from your home as you age, why not renovate your own home now to prepare for aging in place?
You can age independently in your own space where you are comfortable and safe. Follow our tips to ensure an easy and happy aging-in-place experience.