Aging in place refers to the practice of staying in one’s home safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level. As we grow older, our mobility and physical strength diminish, and our homes may become less accessible. However, with the right modifications, one can enhance the safety and functionality of their home, allowing for increased independence. Here’s a look at ways to adjust your living space to ensure it’s fit for the future:
1. Entrance and Exits
- Ramps: Replace steps with ramps for wheelchair or walker access.
- Handrails: Install sturdy handrails on both sides of staircases and steps.
- No-Threshold Entries: Consider creating at least one no-step entry into your home.
- Grab Bars: Install these near the toilet and shower to provide support.
- Walk-in Showers: Consider installing a curbless shower with a bench.
- Higher Toilets: A raised toilet seat can make sitting down and standing up easier.
- Pull-out Shelves: These can make it easier to access items without bending or reaching.
- Lever Handles: Replace round knobs with lever-style handles which are easier to grip.
- Adjustable Counter Heights: Consider counters at different heights to accommodate sitting or standing.
4. General Living Spaces
- Open Floor Plans: More space can help in maneuvering wheelchairs or walkers.
- Non-Slip Flooring: Opt for non-slip tiles or low-pile carpeting to prevent tripping hazards.
- Good Lighting: Increase the lighting in your home, especially in hallways and stairways.
- Main Floor Location: Consider moving the primary bedroom to the main floor to avoid stairs.
- Emergency Devices: Have emergency response devices close by, especially if the bedroom is isolated from main living areas.
6. Home Technology
- Smart Home Devices: Devices like voice-activated lights, thermostats, or security systems can provide increased convenience.
- Medical Alert Systems: Wearable devices can provide a direct line to emergency services if needed.
- Low Maintenance: Opt for easy-to-care-for landscaping. Consider xeriscaping or planting perennials which require less frequent care.
- Well-lit Pathways: Ensure all pathways are illuminated for safe navigation during the evening hours.
Aging in place can offer emotional and financial benefits. By modifying your home to meet your future needs, you can enjoy the familiar comforts of your space while ensuring safety and accessibility. Start planning early and consider consulting with a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) who can provide expert advice on home modifications for seniors.
Call us at 732-238-6000 for more information and guidance.
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