Just about everyone knows that as you age so does your mind and body. Whether you’ve done a good job of caring for your health or not, there may come a point when you’re unable to get around as efficiently as you could in years past. For some aging adults, their health and wellness have become so challenging that they have no choice but to move in with family or transition to a nursing home or senior living development. For others, however, the option to “age in place” (age in their homes) is possible.
Aging in place, however, cannot be done without some changes to their routines, health habits, and, in this case, their living environment. By creating a safe and comfortable environment at home, seniors are able to stay in the spaces that mean most to them. Below, are the top 5 home improvements to consider making to help aging adults age in place comfortably.
#1 Convert Or increase Outdated Household Lighting
Seniors are at a higher risk of slipping, falling, or injuring themselves for a number of reasons. One of those factors is impaired vision. As you get older, your eyes don’t work as well as they once did, it leaves you at risk for a number of issues. To protect yourself or a loved one from hurting themselves and to make life at home more comfortable you should improve the lighting, such as converting recessed lighting to track lights, pendant lights or other fixtures in dark areas like hallways or basements. Luckily there are senior-friendly tools that make this process seamless and easy. Our #1 suggestion would be to use a recessed light conversion kit to update and improve the lighting.
#2 Place Grab Bars in the Bathroom
The bathroom can become a dangerous place for a senior that isn’t as mobile as they used to be. One wrong move could cause them to slip and fall and hurt themselves pretty badly. To reduce the likelihood of this happening, it is recommended that you install grab bars in the bathroom. Grab bars are metal bars installed typically near the tub and toilet to provide seniors with extra support when using the restroom or taking a shower/bath.
#3 Install a Wheelchair Ramp
While you or your aging relative may not be wheelchair-bound at the moment, ramps provide a lot more convenience, comfort, and safety. This is especially true if they suffer from medical conditions like arthritis where moving joints up and down is painful. Ramps eliminate the need to climb stairs and allow them to get into and out of their homes with ease. They can also make it easier for them when transporting things like groceries into the home.
#4 Invest in a Stair Lift
As stated above, getting up and down the stairs after a certain age can be difficult. If an aging adult is going to live in their homes comfortably, it is imperative that you take the stairs into consideration. One trip up or down the stairs could leave a senior with broken bones and chronic pain that is difficult to recover from. To eliminate the need to climb the stairs, it may be worth it to have an electric stair lift installed in the home. This is an electrical device that safely transports seniors up and down the stairs. Though they are expensive, there are grants available that could be used to help cover some of the costs.
#5 New Flooring May Be Necessary
The flooring is another element of the home you want to pay attention to when it comes to seniors. Flooring that is too hard, could lead to serious injuries if they slip and fall. Also, flooring that is damaged can easily increase their chances of falling. Not to mention, if you or your loved one does use a wheelchair, getting around on certain floor types can prove difficult. For this reason, it may be necessary to remove any old carpeting, damaged tiles, or hardwood floors from the home. As you decide which flooring is best for the home, look at factors that include softness, slip-resistance, ease of maintenance, shock resistance (in case of a fall), and ease of travel (for wheelchairs).
Aging in place is something that all seniors hope to do as they age. While sometimes this isn’t possible, there are other instances in which living at home can be the best thing for their health and well being. To ensure that they are able to do so comfortably, however, it is necessary to make some of the changes mentioned above such as converting older lighting fixtures, installing safety features, and improving flooring to ensure their safety.