As you get older, normal activities you’ve always performed around the house can become increasingly difficult, or even dangerous.
For seniors looking to maintain independence in their own home (referred to as “aging in place”), there are some common home modifications recommended to help make everyday tasks both easier and safer.
According to AARP, 87 percent of adults age 65+ want to stay in their current home and community as they age. Among people age 50 to 64, 71 percent of people want to age in place. Combining aging in place home modifications with in-home care could be the perfect recipe for staying at home, and maintaining peace of mind for loved ones. Here are five of the most commonly recommended aging in place home modifications we’ve seen (in a handy infographic):
If a senior relies on a walker or wheelchair to navigate the house, widened doorways is an essential modification. Costs vary based on insulation, wiring, and contractor. Companies like HandyPro specialize in senior modifications.
Following the lead of widened doorways, the installation of ramps inside and outside the house are recommend for seniors using wheelchairs or simply have balance issues. Ramps are typically constructed with either concrete, wood, or aluminum.
Modifications to the bathroom are generally a top priority as bathing and grooming is essential to maintaining proper health. There are a number of recommended bathroom modifications, including:
- Installing a walk-in shower/tub
- Add grab/safety bars & strips to prevent slips & falls in the bathrub
- Purchasing a bathtub transfer bench or chair
- Roll-under sinks
- Easy-to-access water faucet controls
- Floor urinal and bidet adaptations
- Turnaround space modifications
- Toilet modifications
Professional contractors can help adjust counter height, lower sinks, and make storage space and cabinetry more accessible. Many aging in place consultants may also recommend subtle changes like incorporating microwave stands into the kitchen for easier access.
It may seem straightforward, but different floorings have their own unique qualities. Hardwood, tile, laminate, and vinyl floors are smooth and may allow for easier wheelchair maneuvering, but they also tend to be more slippery than carpeting. Carpet may be a better solution, but shaggy carpeting may pose a tripping hazard. Additionally, throw rugs and mats can cause trips or falls, so it’s recommended to either secure them in place with tape, or remove them entirely.
Being proactive with home modifications can help seniors maintain independence by staying at home while providing the comfort you need to know that your loved one is safe. For more information on aging in place home modification best practices, call a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist or contact Family Matters In-Home Care to see if in-home care if right for your loved one.