No one wants to face the heartache of releasing that they can no longer independently care for themselves. As we get older, we know that we’re likely to face more issues with things like mobility and health concerns, but most of us do our best to hold onto our independence for as long as possible in spite of these issues. Aging in place has long been the preferred options of most senior individuals planning their retirement. However, many homes aren’t designed to facilitate better comfort for older individuals. If you’re planning on staying in the comfort of your own property as you get older, it could be a good idea to start making some modifications now. The faster you can update your home with features that make it safer and more accessible to those with limited mobility, the easier it will be to maintain control over your life as you get older.
Address the Flooring
Trips and falls are some of the most common concerns for elderly individuals with mobility problems. As you get older, it becomes much harder for you to lift your feet properly and avoid tripping over things like rugs and other obstacles. If your home has high-pile carpeting or a lot of slick services that you may slip on, now might be the time to make some changes. Switch high-pile comfort with easy to maintain lower piles, and secure rugs, or remove them from your home entirely. There are grippers available that can help to keep your rugs secured to the ground if you think they add warmth to the room.
Make Traveling Between Floors easier
If your home has more than one floor, then you’re going to have the stress of stairs to deal with before you can realistically commit to aging in place. The chances are that you won’t want to move to a one-floor property just so you don’t have to worry about tripping and falling. A much more affordable and appealing option could be to think about installing a home elevator. Companies like Lifton home elevators make it much easier for you to update your home with the features required to make moving between floors as simple as possible. More importantly, these compact and attractive elevators aren’t going to take up too much space or detract from your home’s design either.
Consider the Bathroom
Your bathroom can be a common source of accidents as you get older, with slippery surfaces to think about, the headache of getting in and out of the tub, and more. Adding a shower bench to your bathroom could be an easy way to immediately reduce the risk of slipping and falling when you’re getting older, and you can even think about things like walk-in tubs or lifts that gradually lower you into your tub instead. If you’re concerned about making late-night trips to the bathroom in the dark, then it might be a good idea to replace light switches with convenient string pulls, or even add motion-activated lighting that illuminates automatically as soon as you enter the space.
Make Your Home Smarter
Smart homes aren’t just reserved for youngsters creating their first home. You can also add various automation elements to your own property to make it more convenient as you get older. Home automation delivers comfort and safety in a way that’s easy for you to control. For instance, a smart thermostat means you can turn up the heating without having to go and deal with the thermostat yourself. You can also automatically control your lights, switching them off when you get into bed so you can easily find your way. There are all kinds of intelligent products that can change the way that you live these days, from smart security systems that send you alerts when something’s wrong, to intelligent speakers that can remind you when it’s time to take your medication.
Update the Kitchen
Other than the bathroom, the kitchen is usually one of the riskiest rooms in the house from an accident perspective. If you’re worried about slipping on a floor that’s been dampened by steam, consider installing slip-proof flooring for peace of mind. You can even get cabinets that you can pull down from high spaces to reach you, so you don’t have to climb or stretch to reach your pots and pans. Another point that you might need to think about when you’re updating the kitchen is how you’re going to use the space. If a table in the room now makes it too difficult to get around without stumbling, maybe it’s time to go for a more minimalist design. Grab rails that help you to stay sturdy when you’re at the sink and the oven could be useful too.
Remember the Little Details
Finally, remember that modifying your home for aging in place doesn’t have to mean making countless big investments. Sometimes the smallest changes can have the biggest impact. For instance, changing door knobs for handles that are easier to grip will be an excellent step for people who have trouble with their finer motor functions. Installing handrails on the stairs, around the bathroom, and even in the bedroom can make it easier for people with the poor balance to avoid slips and trips. You can even think about adding a bed rail to the bed if you usually find that you have trouble with falling out of your covers and getting back into bed during the night. Look around the home and ask yourself what minor changes might make you feel safer and more comfortable.
Preparing to Age in Place
Thanks to home improvements and new technology, aging in place is a more realistic option for countless people today. If you’re thinking that you want to stay in your home for longer, now could be the perfect time to start assessing your property and looking for ways to contribute to the safety and comfort of the house. The quicker you begin prepping your home for aging in place, the easier it will be to adapt and maintain your independence as age creeps up on you.