Aging In Place – Home Modifications
The recent trend among seniors is to stay in their homes as long as possible. Industry insiders call this lofty goal aging in place and it encompasses a tremendous amount of sectors, ranging from: home modification, technology, medical and in-home care support. Naturally, the vast majority of adults prefer to age in place.
We spoke a little about home modification in a previous article here on the Helper Bees blog. Now we expand and give you some actionable insight!
AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons, ran a study and found that 9 out of 10 seniors wanted to remain in their home for as long as possible. For some, the ability to attain this goal takes planning and assistance. Indeed, aging in place takes a keen eye and planning.
When you identify that you or a loved one see aging in place as a way to live their elder life, home modifications are of the utmost priority in order to make the home safe, accessible and flexible.
You might ask yourself: What are the best tips and considerations for aging in place home modifications to make a home more suitable as one ages?
Bathroom Modifications for Seniors
The room that deserves great attention is the bathroom. The bathroom is a room that is a major fall hazard, and the falls tend to be extremely severe. To minimize the risk of falling, the bathroom can be modified in the following ways
- Preferably having a walk-in shower as opposed to a bath tub
- Adding grab bars around the bathroom and in the shower for support
- Elevating the toilet seat to prevent senior from having to bend down too much
- Placing non-skid mats outside the shower and near the toilet
- Purchasing a seat in the shower
- Inserting a hand-held shower head, especially for seniors with limited mobility
Kitchen Modifications for Seniors
Another room that deserves attention is the kitchen. The kitchen can be modified by
- Adding C or D shaped drawer handles
- Having kitchen countertops at different heights so a senior can work both sitting and standing
- Elevating the sink to reduce having to bend down when washing dishes
- Ensure smoke alarms are working properly
- Lower shelves to help seniors reach them easier
- Buying temperature-controlled cookware to reduce chance of fire
General Home Modifications for Seniors
The home in general can be modified to help seniors live safely, for example:
- Adding night lights in the bedroom where 26% of all falls happen
- Adding night lights throughout the house, especially pathways
- Doorways that are 36 inch wide to make moving room to room easy
- Replacing round door knobs with lever door handles
- Replacing toggle-style light switches with easier to use rocker-style light switcher (preferably glow in the dark light switches)
- Adding lighting to usually unlit spaces such as closets
- Discarding throw rugs around the house because they are a dangerous tripping hazard
Special Home Modifications for Seniors with Alzheimer’s
- Adding door chimes or “hiding” door knobs behind curtains can prevent wandering out of the home
- Adding child door knob locks can prevent seniors from opening certain doors they should not be
- Early stage Alzheimer’s patients ,may react with confusion and irritation to changes, so discussing these changes with the patient can be extremely beneficial
Help You Age in Place
The most important modifications revolve around making the home hazard free, easily accessible, and reduce strain. After making modifications, viewing the results and making individual modifications requested by the senior is extremely important to maintain the senior safe in their own home.