Many seniors appreciate the easy-going lifestyle of assisted living communities, but most people actually prefer to want to “age in place” in their own homes for as long as possible. Reasons for choosing to age in place are many, including wanting to stay in familiar surroundings, not wanting to leave friends, neighbors, and family, and avoiding the prohibitive cost of senior living communities.
But what if your home wasn’t designed with long-term living in mind? There are many modification options that can help you stay safe and comfortable in your home well past retirement.
Here are our top tips for making your home more aging-friendly.
Increase stair safety around your home by adding traction tape to your stairs and elevated walking surfaces. Also make sure handrails are securely installed and areas are well-lit.
If you or a loved-one can no longer navigate stairs safely, stair ramps are a must. A licensed contractor can ensure that a ramp is installed at the correct height and rise.
Threshold ramps can provide a smooth transition from one surface to another, making it safer to navigate throughout the home.
Doors and Doorways
Swap out knob handles for lever-style door handles that are easier to open and close, especially for those with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, gout, etc.
If someone in your home relies on a walker or wheelchair, narrow doorways can make navigating throughout a home difficult. Consult a licensed contractor about widening doorways and moving insulation, electrical switches, and outlets if needed.
If the carpeting in your home is older, shaggy, and stretched out, consider replacing it with new carpeting that has a shorter nap. It reduces tripping and is easier to navigate on with a walker or wheelchair.
If you use throw or are rugs to reduce slipping on hardwood, tile, laminate, and vinyl floors, be sure that they are securely taped down to prevent trips and falls.
Consider installing lower cabinetry at counter height and lowering the sink to a more comfortable height, especially if you need to access them from a seated position.
Use cabinet drawers instead of doors to access the contents of your lower cabinets more easily, and limit placing frequently used items in upper cabinets that require you to strain or use a stepstool to reach them.
A double oven eliminates the need to bend down while a microwave built into a lower cabinet or placed on a microwave stand eliminates the need to reach when cooking or heating up food. Additionally, if possible, move the washer out of your basement and into a closet or small room to eliminate the need to walk up and down stairs.
Replace the bathtub with a walk-in shower and chair or built-in bench, which provides easier and safer entry and exit than a bathtub. Attach a removable shower head so you can pull the head down for easier cleaning.
Install lever faucets or opt for a motion-sensor model that turns on and off at the wave of a hand. If room permits, a dual-level vanity allows easy access from both a standing and sitting position.
A comfort-height toilet makes it easier to sit down and stand up than a standard-height model. And don’t forget grab bars and rails in the shower, bathtub, and near the toilet to make using each area of the bathroom easier and safer.
The best course of action to take when making home modifications for aging in place is to consider all of the areas of the home that present the most trouble or concern. Contact the remodeling experts at Pann Homes Services and Remodeling today and see how we can make your home a safe, comfortable, and stylish place to live now and for years to come.