Get to know the Different Ways you can modify your Home for Aging in Place
Now more than ever, we see more adults choosing to live at home as they age, or what is known as aging in place. Living at home helps older adults maintain their lifestyle for as long as possible, instead of moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility.
In fact, three-quarters of adults age 50 and older would prefer to stay in their homes as they age, according to an AARP survey.
Although many of us will not be able to live independently forever, home modifications will allow our loved ones to continue living in our homes longer by creating a more manageable environment.
A) Useful home modifications
As we age, our bodies and abilities change, and not all homes are designed to withstand this challenge we will face. Doors are often too narrow, bathrooms too small, floors too slippery, and kitchen cabinets too tall to reach.
For older adults, a home designed for optimal accessibility, comfort, and safety is imperative to prevent falls or serious injuries.
Optimizing a home for safe and comfortable living while creating a home environment that makes it easy to move around is essential to aging in place.
1. General home modifications to aid in mobility
- Install handrails: To age in place, add handrails to stairs, hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms for added balance.
- Improve lighting: Replace existing light bulbs with LED bulbs to increase visibility. Consider installing touch-activated lamps and nightlights in the bedroom, bathroom, and hallways.
- Install lever handles on doors: Swap out standard round doorknobs for lever-style handles. These don’t necessitate the same degree of grip.
- Install a stair-lift: This is a great alternative when climbing stairs becomes more difficult. To prevent your loved one from using the stairs in the dark, install light switches at the top and bottom of the steps.
- Install automatic blinds: This style of window treatment allows older adults to adjust their blinds without having to stand up.
- Create an open floor plan: Make wide hallways throughout the house with little obstruction. Widen doorways and hallways if your loved one uses a walker or wheelchair to get around your home.
- Replace hardwood, tile, laminate, or vinyl flooring with carpet: If your loved one doesn’t use a wheelchair, the rug will be more forgiving and give more consistency to the floor.
2. For the living room
- Rearrange furniture and eliminate clutter: To avoid tripping hazards, make sure furniture placement leaves enough room to move safely around the room.
- Install non-slip mats: Add strips to the bottom of rugs to increase traction and reduce the chance of tripping.
- Replace unstable furniture: Get rid of wobbly furniture to prevent falls and add plastic protectors to sharp edges of furniture.
3. For the kitchen
- Keep everyday items accessible: Store small appliances, cookware, and dinnerware between waist and shoulder height to avoid the need to bend over or use a stool.
- Consider purchasing a stove with an automatic shutoff feature: Once the sensors do not detect movement for an extended period, the stove will turn off.
- Install a hands-free faucet and anti-scald device: Easily turn the water on and off with the wave of one hand and install an anti-scald device to prevent the possibility of scalding.
- Replace kitchen cabinets and adjust counter and sink heights: For more convenient storage space, install drawers, open shelves, or pull-out shelves. Choose a counter height where it’s easy to prepare meals and wash dishes while sitting.
- Adjust the location of major appliances: Place the oven, sink, and refrigerator as close to each other as possible.
4. For the bathroom
- Add sticky strips to a bath mat in showers and bathtubs: On damp surfaces, this can help minimize slipping.
- Install anti-slip strips in case the floor becomes slippery: Try to avoid ceramic tiles as they can become slippery when wet.
- Install a walk-in tub or shower transfer bench: This reduces the likelihood of slipping and falling. Getting in and out of a traditional bathtub or standing for an extended period of time can be more difficult.
- Install bars or handrails in bathtubs and near the toilet: This will improve mobility and help prevent falls.
- Install a raised toilet seat: A raised toilet seat reduces the distance between sitting and standing.
5. For the exterior of the house
- Create at least one step-free entrance to the house: Replace exterior stairs with a removable ramp for a smooth transition in and out of the house.
- Add exterior lighting and landscape lighting: To prevent falls or trips, add outdoor lighting to walkways and stairs.
- Install handrails: Add handrails on both sides of walkways for added support and balance.
- Choose low-maintenance materials: Opt for vinyl siding, metal roofing, composite decking, and low-maintenance landscaping.
- Install a security system: A home security system can give your loved one a sense of safety and security.
B) Create a support system with care and services for the elderly
Building a support system for your loved one is an important part of aging in place. In addition, to support from family members, it’s a good idea to consider senior care and services for your aging loved ones.
There is a network of services available, including meal delivery, nursing, transportation, and house cleaning services.
Home care services are also offered at various levels depending on the situation. On days when you are not available, an older companion could spend time with your loved one to avoid social isolation.
In-home caregivers can help with everyday activities, like cooking, grooming, or shopping, while also making sure your loved one is safe in your home.
C) Introduce technology into your loved one’s home
Assistive technology solutions, smart home features, and technology devices can be used to help simplify everyday tasks, promote independence, and remain safe while aging in place.
There are all kinds of devices, like medical alert devices to call for help, sitting assist devices to lift your loved one to their feet, and smart light bulbs that can be controlled remotely.
These are just a few ideas on how to renovate your home so that your loved one can age in place.
Gets the ball rolling now, so you’re ready when the time comes. Done Right Home Remodeling is ready to help. We will do whatever is essential for you. Visit Done Right Home Remodeling Los Angeles company website today.