Aging In Place: A Safety Guide For Seniors
Photo via Pixabay by Beejees
Many seniors find they have to make some difficult decisions once they reach a certain age, including where they’ll spend their golden years. While most individuals wish to remain in their own home, it’s not always possible to do so for safety reasons. Fortunately, there are some home modifications you can do that will help ensure you stay at home for as long as you want, and although some of them are bigger and more costly than others, the majority of them won’t break the bank.
Many people realize their current home isn’t ideal for accessibility as they age. If modifications aren’t your speed, you also have the option to downsize to a more accessible home, which will not only help you accommodate any health or mobility issues, but it will also save you money in the long run and will be less to take care of. It’s important to do some research, however, and look in your area for accessible homes that meet your budget and physical needs.
Keep reading for some great tips on how to age in place safely.
Start with the easiest modifications
Some of the easiest modifications are the ones you can do yourself or in a short amount of time, so start with these first. You might add a grab bar, non-slip rubber mat, and shower seat in your bathtub; paint the walls in certain areas contrasting colors to make things like the toilet easier to find; remove hard-to-grasp doorknobs and replace them with handles; and add lighting or give the existing lights an upgrade so they’ll come on automatically when you enter a room. Starting with these simple, DIY projects will help you make the rooms in your home safer and easier to use.
Pay attention to the flooring
The flooring in your home is extremely important, since falls are one of the main causes of injury to seniors. It’s a good idea to remove throw rugs and other trip hazards, make sure there’s adequate lighting in stairwells, add non-skid mats in the bathroom and kitchen, and replace carpeting with hardwood, tile, or laminate flooring. You’ll also want to wear sturdy shoes or slippers around the house.
Don’t forget the exterior
The exterior of your home should be just as safe and accessible as the interior, so it’s a good idea to take a walk around and look for any potential issues. Walkways should be well-lit and free of trip hazards such as weeds, vines, or cracked cement. If there are steps that could become a problem for your mobility, consider installing a ramp.
Make your appliances smart ones
Smart appliances cost a little more, but they may be well worth it in the long run, especially if you or your partner/spouse have mobility or cognitive issues. There are several stoves, refrigerators, and even hot water heaters on the market that are programmable, have special lights and timers, and even security systems that will alert help if you need it.
Know your options
It’s important to know what your options are when it comes to having an accessible home. If you can’t afford to make home modifications that are necessary for your safety and comfort, consider downsizing to a smaller house that will accommodate you. Timing is everything when moving, and several factors will play into it including the state of the real estate market, taxes, and your budget. Look online for accessible homes in your area using filters to narrow down your search, but keep in mind that things can get pricey depending on where you are looking. For example, the median listing price of a home in Wallingford, CT, is $260,000. However, you can definitely find a smaller home well below this price, especially if your expand your options and consider a condominium or senior community, or explore smaller cities nearby.
Aging in place takes a little work and preparation, but with a good plan you can ensure that your home is safe and comfortable for both you and your spouse or partner. Remember to consult a pro for bigger jobs, and don’t be afraid to ask for help with DIY jobs, either. The investment you make now will pay off in the long run.