According to a study from the AARP, 90% of people over age 65 want to grow old in their own homes. Most would still prefer aging in place, even when physical or mental limitations make it challenging to live independently.
The good news is that with the right help, many older adults can do just that.
Simply put, “aging in place” means spending your golden years at home instead of a senior living community or nursing home. It allows older adults to maintain a level of autonomy and independence not available under other circumstances. And it will enable them to spend their final years at home, surrounded by cherished possessions, familiar surroundings, and friends and neighbors they have known for years.
When is Aging in Place the Right Solution?
While most people would prefer to stay in their own homes as they age, it’s not always a feasible option. Aging in place can only work when an older adult has a strong support network and a home that is safe and accessible.
The first step in successfully aging in place is creating a thorough plan. Start by assessing your current situation. Account for ongoing health issues and how they may impact your ability to stay in your home long-term. What sort of assistance or accommodations might you need? Will you be able to stay at home if your condition worsens? What modifications will help keep your home safe and comfortable in the future?
Think ahead to what you might need down the road, no matter how small the change.
Modifying Your Home to Make it Safer
While modifying your home may seem daunting, aging in place often only requires a few minor adjustments. These are some of the most common changes we suggest to our clients:
- Install grab bars in the tub or shower and on either side of the toilet.
- Add a fold-down seat, chair, or stool to the tub or shower.
- Try a “right height” toilet, customized for your individual needs.
- Choose a barrier-free shower with a handheld showerhead.
- Add extra lighting to help prevent a nighttime fall.
- Select a low-profile bed and nightstands for ease of use.
- Consider an adjustable bed for customized sleep positions.
- Add a bed rail to make it easy to get in and out of bed.
- Install an under-the-bed light that’s triggered by motion.
- Install a home stairlift to make moving between floors easier
- Use a ramp to for safer entry into the home
- Place rails on stairs or level surfaces to create extra handholds.
- Remove any unnecessary furniture or rugs.
- Install pocket doors to make moving between rooms easier.
- Replace traditional toggle light switches with rocker panel switches.
- Hallways, room openings, and doorways should be at least 36” wide to accommodate wheelchairs.
- Use handrails in hallways and on staircases.
A Note on Smart Technology
These days, you can control almost anything from your smartphone or tablet. Lighting, thermostats, appliances, and more can all be adjusted without having to get up and leave the couch.
Not only is this highly convenient, but it helps prevent the trips and falls that can happen while moving around the house.
Let Us Help You Age in Place
Our team of home modification experts can help you remain in your own home, despite medical compromise. Our patient-centered approach focuses on your unique abilities and goals to create a safe and accessible living environment.
If you’re struggling to live independently due to physical challenges, please reach out to our team today so we can help you remain in the home you love.