“How to prepare your home for the Golden Years”
As you age it can be harder to move around and complete tasks around the house. You want to make sure you start pre planning ways to make your home a forever home as well as hazard free, if that is where you plan to reside as you get older. For some individuals aging in place is the most comfortable option compared to residing at a long term care facility, independent living center, or under the care of friends or family. Here are a few tips and physical changes to consider in order to age in place safely and effectively.
- First and foremost all door knobs, cabinet knobs, drawer knobs, faucet handles etc. should be modified and replaced with handles and or accessories that will be easier to grasp in case of deficiency in mobility of hand movement.
- Flooring all throughout the house, and even at the front and back entrances of the house, need to be leveled or at least no more than a ¼ inch high, to prevent trips and falls, as well as, to be accommodating for wheelchairs.
- Not having a screen door is an advantage for aging in place. It keeps you from not having to go through two doors.
- Rugs in the home should be taken up, rugs are a tripping, falling, and slipping hazard.
- Toilets, Chairs, Beds, Countertops, Sinks, Appliances, etc. should all be at comfort height or chair height. If need be you can access all of these from in a wheelchair or using a walker.
- Showers can be altered to be “Zero Clearance” which means the bathroom floor height and the shower height are exactly the same.
- Grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet are ideal, but it is important to note that washcloths should never be placed on grab bars in the shower, that can potentially cause a loss of grip in the shower.
- Seats in the shower are recommended to prevent tiredness and falling.
- For use of Walkers and Wheelchairs ideally, doorways and walkways should be 32 inches wide.
- You want to make sure in designated areas like bathrooms, kitchens, and bedrooms that you have at least a 5ft turning circle, so you have the ability tomake turnarounds when needed.
- All steps in the home should be replaced with ramps or leveled out.
- As much as we all love our pets, pets can be tripping hazards. There needs to be some thought about if having a pet in the future will be an inconvenience/hazard or if it’ll be a safe environment for both pets and the individuals living there.