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Aging in Place: 7 Tips for Your Home

Age in place gracefully by following these home tips. 

Recent data from a new AARP “Home and Community Preferences Survey” shows that 77% of adults 50 and older want to remain in their homes for the long term, aka aging in place. But what is aging in place? According to the RetireGuide, aging in place is the process of staying in your own home as you grow older instead of moving to an outside facility. However, people frequently undervalue the significance of making plans for future health issues. Here are seven features that your home should have to help you avoid typical (and potentially deadly) challenges, whether you’re looking for the ideal age in place home or making modifications to your current home.

Feel safe and secure by reviewing the tips below. 

Do a Home Safety Check

A thorough safety inspection of your house is the first step in an aging-in-place strategy to detect potential hazards. The good news is that many of the upgrades that make it safer for you to live in your home may be done quickly and affordably. Look for any potential dangers as you walk about your home in case your vision or movement starts to decline. Then employ a home modification specialist to assist in making the required alterations. Many home modifications that could make it simpler for you to stay in your home are inexpensive, such as installing brighter outdoor lighting and elevating electrical outlets to make them more accessible. 

Befriend Technology

It’s not lazy to have a clap-activated light switch. Rather, it’s a clever method to adapt your home’s layout to your changing demands. Making your home more digitally first can be an excellent way to support aging in place. In addition, today’s app-driven appliances can ping or ring your phone when dinner is complete in case you don’t hear the bell from the other room. Quieter dishwashers, laundry equipment and ventilation will provide less disturbance to discussions for someone who suffers from hearing loss. Smart technologies that are great for seniors include:

  • For seniors who tend to lose track of their keys easily, door locks that unlock automatically upon voice or touch activation may be helpful.
  • Stress may be reduced and safety can be ensured with home security systems that can be monitored from a smartphone.
  • Receiving warnings if your washer is leaking, cleaning the dishes with voice-control front-loading washers and having ovens that send notifications to your phone when your meal is ready are all examples of smart technology appliances that make life easier.

Create a Safe Kitchen

When you are aging in place, it is important to create a safe kitchen. You should make sure that the appliances and countertops are easy to reach and use, with no sharp corners or edges that could cause injury. Floors should have non-slip surfaces, and electrical cords and wires should be tucked away and out of the way. Ensure any knives and other sharp objects are in a secure spot away from the reach of children. Additionally, you should install smoke detectors and fire extinguishers to help protect you and your home. Finally, make sure your kitchen is well-lit and that you can easily get around the kitchen space. Taking these steps to make your kitchen safe will help you age in place safely and comfortably.

Better Flooring

Every home has a fundamental component, the flooring, that needs to be taken into consideration for safe and comfortable aging in place. Despite being common in homes, throw rugs can pose a tripping hazard. A preferable choice is a slip-resistant floor solution, which will lessen the possibility of senior citizens slipping on tile or smooth wood surfaces. For less than $100, one may purchase an epoxy or other simple-to-apply substance, and these treatments create an “invisible tread” that can entirely secure even the most slippery surface. In circumstances where people can age in place, it is perhaps the most common-sense strategy available to prevent injuries and extend life.

Placing strong visual cues as reminders of potentially dangerous places is another method to adjust your existing or new home for aging in place. Reach, strength and even memory are not the only things that might decline with age; vision and hearing can also suffer. Accidents can be avoided by using visual clues, such as a color border to delineate a countertop’s edge or a change in flooring color before a step down into another room. Toekick lighting activated by motion and cabinet interior illumination that turns on when the doors open will also make it easier for someone with poor vision to move around the house. For more information about the best flooring for seniors, check out this guide

Have One-Floor

After a certain age, climbing stairs can become exceedingly challenging. And even for those who can control them, they eventually turn into a falling hazard. The most severe bone injuries are hip fractures, which are 95% the result of falling. The installation of rails on both sides of the stairs might be a crucial aging-in-place improvement if elders are determined to stay in their current homes with stairs. However, choosing to live in single-level, single-floor homes can further lessen the chance of falling by doing away with both stairs and steps, which are frequent hazards. As crucial as it is for seniors to maneuver through their environment, it is also necessary to keep in mind that any caregivers who enter the room must do the same.

Aging in place implies accepting the fact that someday, this house will serve as a care facility. Homes with wide doors, walk-in showers and no stairs are a terrific beginning step, but people constantly seem to forget that they need to design the space to make future caregiving easier for the person giving care and more enjoyable for the person receiving care. Your space is the second caregiver. The fewer barriers there are between the person getting care and the person seeking care, the more open the layout.

Create a Safe Bathroom

You shouldn’t be climbing into and out of high-sided tubs to prevent slip-and-fall accidents in the restroom. Walk-in showers and even walk-in bathtubs are superior alternatives. Safety bars are useful for lowering oneself to the toilet and for getting out of a walker and into the shower or bathtub. Family caregivers must make sure the residence is suitable and take care of five important issues before letting a senior “stay put”: mobility, dexterity, cognition, vision and personal health and safety. Mobility aids can be added to a senior’s house to make it easier for them to age in place. There are many different kinds of mobility aids, including:

  • Stairlifts
  • Power lift chairs
  • Wheelchairs
  • Walkers
  • Motorized scooters
  • Outside ramps
  • Elevated toilet seats
  • Specialty cutlery
  • Bathtub/shower grab bars
  • Bathtub/shower seats
  • Raised toilet seats
  • Elevators

Complete renovations can be expensive, time-consuming and stressful for an elderly person and their family caregivers, unless you work with Valor Home Services. For more bathroom safety tips, check out this guide

Do Home Modifications

As you get older, modifications might help you move around and live in your home more easily. Some alterations are quick and simple, like changing furniture or taking out throw rugs. Other renovations take longer and cost more money. Since you grow more prone to falls and other mishaps in the home as you age, any improvements are essential to enhancing your mobility and home safety. Some common home modifications include:

  • Installing nonslip flooring, especially in the bathroom
  • Widening doorways and hallways for wheelchairs or scooters
  • Installing a walk-in tub or shower
  • Building ramps
  • Installing grab bars and grips in the bathroom
  • Creating a bedroom on the first floor
  • Adding a bathroom on the first floor
  • Adding brighter lighting fixtures

Home improvements can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars for simple projects to several thousand for complex ones. It’s a good idea to consult an expert before making any changes if you decide to go forward. Valor Home Services certifies aging in place specialists who are trained to design and build barrier-free living environments specifically for older adults. The best way to start this new life process is by booking an appointment with our team. Then, during the consultation, explain to us what your wants and needs are so that you or your loved ones can live comfortably at home.