Many elderly people wish to age in the comfort of their own home. According to the Administration on Aging’s 2016 Profile of Older Americans, over 13.6 million seniors live alone. However, what happens when the home’s once-familiar areas become hazardous? Will the house be able to handle one’s daily needs?
It is important to consider basic safety features as the majority of homes are not conducive to aging in place. As a result, as people grow older, their homes often need to be modified to accommodate the aging process. Here are some tips for elderly adults seeking to maximize the livability of their home.
Make sure the house has zero-step entrances that are easily accessible for individuals using assistive devices such as a cane, walker or wheelchair. In addition, having covered entrances reduces the chances for serious slip-and-fall accidents arising from water or snow buildup on porches.
Another key area of the home that should be designed for optimum convenience is the bathroom. Basic safety features like a handle bar and grip mats can help elderly adults avoid falls. Ensure that the shower, sink and toilet are accessible to individuals with limited mobility.
Many people often overlook the fixtures in a house. However, they are also worth modifying. Outlets and switches should be placed in optimal locations and at heights that can be reached while seated. Additionally, doors that have lever hardware instead of knobs will be easier to use for those who are injured or arthritic.
The home may also need simple additions installed such as stair railings, grab bars or bath chairs. For individuals hoping to age at home, the key is to adopt a long-term perspective and begin planning for the future now.