There are many reasons why aging in place is beneficial for seniors. Most would find it easier and more comforting to stay in their home until their final days. However, depending on the original layout, this can pose a bit of a challenge. If a home has many stairs, narrow areas, and multiple floors, moving around can become quite difficult to deal with as we age. With that in mind, aging in place is more affordable and more comfortable than moving into an assisted living home. These places are usually pricey, and many seniors are naturally uncomfortable with the idea of moving there. Remodeling a home for aging in place is about five times less than paying for assisted living. There is an abundance of home improvements you can do to make the home safer and more comfortable for your loved ones. Here are some home improvement tips and tricks for aging in place.
If your loved one has any mobility issues, installing grab bars or railings in high-risk areas like bathrooms and bedrooms will give them additional support and prevent injuries. Installing grab bars in a few different places in the bathroom can provide greater safety and stability for those that may need assistance sitting down or standing up. Even if your loved ones do not need to rely on grab bars on a regular basis, they can benefit from them in recovery after injury or surgery. In addition to that, grab bars are typically not very expensive. You may want to install several near bathing facilities in various sizes. When properly installed, a grab bar should support a person’s body weight as they sit on a toilet or climb in and out of a tub or shower.
Install grab bars in the following areas:
As we get older, we tend to accumulate a lot of possessions. For those aging in place, having too many things lying around can be hazardous. In addition to that, large furniture with sharp edges is not ideal for those with mobility issues. To solve this issue, consider decluttering your home by eliminating items that are no longer in use. If you are having a hard time parting with certain possessions or they are a part of a family heirloom, consider putting them in storage — local movers from the neighborhood can help you with that. By letting moving and storage professionals handle this for you, you will hold on to your valuable belongings while keeping them safe and protected for many years to come.
Flooring can be to blame for many accidents as you age. Tripping and falling over a carpet edge is especially easy for those with mobility issues. Therefore, carpets should be securely attached and no more than half an inch thick. In addition to that, anti-slip bathroom flooring is a must. If you are going for ceramic bathroom flooring, ensure it is certified to be slip-resistant. If your bathroom already has tiles that are in good shape, you can get anti-slip coating and simply roll it on with a paint roller. In some areas of your home, you can go for soft and smooth surfaces, like cork, rubber, and linoleum. These surfaces will be softer in case of a fall and/or will not pose a trip hazard as some thick carpets can.
Standing for long periods in the kitchen may become more difficult as you age. Consider organizing an area where you can sit to prepare meals. An island on wheels might be an option—you can adjust its position to provide clearance for a walker or a wheelchair. Be careful with where the cabinets are installed. Avoid installing them over the stove, as leaning over a hot surface can be hazardous, particularly when the balance is impaired. Choose drawers under your countertop instead of lower cabinets. Adjust the cabinets and drawers in the kitchen to make sure your shelving in closets, cabinets, and pantries are easily accessible.
Bathrooms are tricky even for the younger generations. They are slippery and steamy and require flexibility and mobility. Installing an adjustable showerhead with a handheld wand can make your life much easier. It will help you bathe independently, which will have an impact on your emotional wellbeing.
For seniors with mobility issues, getting into and out of the bathtub can become a challenge. Those aging in place can plan for this by bearing in mind their bathing needs and expectations. If you have multiple bathrooms, you might decide to convert one bathtub into a walk-in shower-only space for convenience and accessibility. You could also install a walk-in bathtub. This type of bathtub has a small door that can be closed with a tight seal. This allows the person to get in and out with only a little clearance. The downside is that you will have to wait until the bathtub is fully drained before you can use the door to exit. On the other hand, if you are looking into a lower-budget option, you may prefer various additions to your existing bathtub. For example, be sure to place a non-slip coating on the bathtub base for extra security.