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How to Make a Home More Elderly Friendly

How to Make a Home More Elderly Friendly

Either you are a senior planning for an aging in place future or an adult ready to take care of your elderly family members, you know the house itself may start betraying you, as you get older. What once was your favorite place in the world now becomes a trap. It stands in between you and a comfortable, safe, and decent lifestyle. Nevertheless, while making a home more elderly-friendly for the seniors who want to age in place does come with a price tag, it is not impossible to achieve.

Staying in Your House or Moving into a Nursing Home?

Recent reports and surveys conducted by the AARP Public Policy Institute revealed that about 90% of U.S. seniors over the age of 65 want to remain in their homes for as much time as they can instead of living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. This “aging in place” movement is now more popular than ever among senior citizens. It means that our seniors want to continue to have control over their lives, enjoy their familiar routines and lifestyles, and receive physical and mental health care in the comfort of their own homes.

Some might believe that nursing homes and other such environments can take care of you or your senior family members better with the help of trained personnel, rigorous medical programs, etc.

However, before you decide to pay top dollar for your parent to enjoy the benefits of a single room in a nursing home, click here to learn more about nursing home problems. In law practice, nursing home injuries, abuses, and dangers a senior could face when placed in an unfamiliar setting together with strangers are commonplace. Moreover, besides the risks of bacterial and viral infections spreading like wildfire in such facilities, the chances of elder abuse, neglect, medical malpractice, eloping, etc. are way higher than you think.

The sheer frustration and discomfort associated with leaving a place you lived in and loved are not worth it. Instead, you could plan a thorough retirement program that includes aging in place to avoid and tackle all the challenges and changes presented by the inevitability of aging.

Aging in Place and Home Redesigns: What You Need to Consider

The same AARP survey mentioned above also stated that more than 50% of the interviewed seniors agreed that their homes did not allow them to age in place safely. With age come mobility and flexibility issues, illnesses, pains, and an assorted range of physical and cognitive declines.

The surefire way to ensure your safety while preserving independence and decent living conditions is to turn your home from a source of stress into an accessible place of comfort. The good news is that you do not have to redesign and remodel your entire house at once.

Plan and make changes before your retirement time comes. It will be easier on the budget and your psyche.

  1. No-Step Entries (from the sidewalk or the driveway), including the installation of ramps;

  2. No-Step Thresholds. Modify all the thresholds leading to your home or all the rooms in your home. In this way, you eliminate tripping hazards;

  3. Railings and holding bars on all the stairs in the house;

  4. Better lighting in all hallways and rooms in the house. One good idea is to install motion sensors for the lights;

  5. Installation of safety rails and grab bars in the bathroom and kitchen;

  6. Changing the handles of doors to lever handles for rooms, cabinets, faucets, etc., for more effortless opening;

  7. Redesigning of kitchen cabinets, so you don’t have to stretch high, climb chairs or ladders to reach top shelves and cupboards;

  8. Modification of doors and hallways to widen them so that you could make room for a wheelchair, walker, scooter, etc.

  9. Install new floors in all your rooms that prevent slipping, tripping, or falls;

  10. Declutter the rooms of unnecessary furniture to avoid accidents;

  11. Invest in a better, more accessible bed;

  12. Build a walk-in shower with multiple showerheads and buttons to push in case arthritis prevents you from handling faucets or knobs.

These are just a few examples of reasonable modifications you could start making throughout the years to facilitate your aging in place plan. Also, consider discussing matters with a professional builder. For instance, the application of Universal Design concepts is an excellent choice for the creation of accessible space for anyone, no matter their physical or psychological limitations.

Modifying your home to age in place does not occur overnight. However, with the proper planning and the support of your family, friends, and community, you can enjoy a comfortable, safe lifestyle, get the medical care you need, and live in the place you have always called “home.”

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