More and more frequently, seniors are choosing aging in place rather than other methods of senior care. Naturally, this brings with it challenges for adapting a home for senior living. While it seems to be an overwhelming chore, a few tips and tricks could make it much simpler and more cost effective.
Aging in place may be defined as receiving elderly care in the home you currently live, rather than moving to senior or assisted living communities. An alternative would be to move to homes of family members, but the safety of the elderly person must still be guarded to accommodate aging.
Why age in place?
For many seniors, the idea of moving out of the home and away from family is difficult. For others, it is cost-prohibitive. Some seniors do not want to give up their independence, and in many cases do not need to.
Often, adjusting to senior living can be just a matter of making simple changes, rather than rearranging one’s whole life. There are even grants and low-interest loans available to help pay for it.
There are a lot of modifications seniors can do or have done on their own, too. One need not sacrifice style to accommodate their aging.
Doors can pose unexpected challenges for seniors. Round door knobs can be hard to grasp and many doorways can be too narrow for walkers or wheelchairs.
Lever door handles come in a variety of attractive options and make opening doors easier.
Doorways can also be widened by the complete removal of the door, which adds valuable inches for wheelchairs and walkers. For privacy, other types of doors, such as pocket doors, can be installed.
Working Around Steps and Stairs
As we age, sometimes even single small steps can be difficult, especially every day. This can make something a daunting task out of something as simple as getting in the front door.
Small ramps can accommodate wheelchairs or just make it easier to ascend low steps. Adding a doorway with no step can be as simple as modifying a window.
Moving downstairs is the simplest way to avoid steps and staircases. However, it is not always the best solution, so elevators and lifts might be a better option. Adding one can increase the value of your home, but be sure to hire a reputable contractor to install it.
Switch the Switches
Most homes are equipped with knobs for turning on plates and switches for turning on various lights and appliances. These can be difficult to manage, but there are attractive alternatives.
Levers for faucets and sinks are much easier to grasp and handle than knobs, and are also easier to adjust.
Lever switches are great for all kinds of lighting. Larger levers and adjustable dimmers can also be a great contribution to aging in place design.
A Safer Bathroom
Even youthful people can slip and fall in the bathroom, but for seniors, the risk can be much higher. Installing grip bars is the most common way seniors use principles of aging in place.
However, the bathroom can be modified in other ways to accommodate seniors. Handheld showerheads can be of great assistance. Walk-in showers can replace bathtubs for safer entry. Grip bars are not only for the shower but can be used all over the bathroom.
The floors of a home create hidden challenges that can be life-threatening. Obvious hazards include slipping on tile or linoleum, and these should be averted with non-skid mats, especially under rugs.
However, tripping is also a hazard from flooring. Rugs and carpet can bunch up, and be just as responsible for falls as wet tile. Wheelchairs and walkers face their own challenges from floors, as they can get caught on lumps in carpeting and transitional spaces, such as thresholds in doorways.
For seniors aging in place, modifying this can be as simple as changing carpeting or adding no-skid finish to certain types of hard floors.
Aging in place has become a more attractive option for many seniors. Whether living in their own homes or residing with family members, modifying a home with aging in place design doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. Seniors can enjoy their golden years in comfort, surrounded by family and friends, and as independent as they can be!