According to a survey from AARP, more than three-quarters of U.S. adults aged 50 and older want to stay in their current homes for as long as possible. If you plan on aging in place, making sure your home is accessible and senior friendly for your needs is essential for enjoying your golden years in peace.
Getting older is something to be proud of – being able to finally retire and reap the rewards from years of hard work is no small feat. While there are many things to enjoy as you age, it also comes with new challenges such as mobility and health issues.
Celebrate National Older Americans Month with these tips!
Update Your Flooring
Falls are one of the leading causes of injury for seniors, with 36 million falls reported among older adults each year. To prevent these accidents in your home, it’s important to update your flooring.
Having loose or shaggy carpets can create an uneven surface, which can cause you to trip and fall. Instead, replace this with low-pile carpet or smooth flooring like hardwood or laminate to prevent you from stumbling.
If you already have level flooring, removing throw rugs and eliminating any cords on your floors are smart preventive measures to make your home more safe and comfortable for your needs.
Improve Your Kitchen
The kitchen is another area that may become difficult to navigate for seniors. As the body ages, mobility can worsen, making bending down and reaching up for dishes or ingredients more challenging.
Upgrading your storage and making it more accessible with Lazy Susans or roll out trays can help you keep your independence in the kitchen. Additionally, it’s important to ensure your appliances are senior friendly. Especially if common devices like your refrigerator, oven, microwave, or dishwasher are outdated. They might not be functional for seniors and can become a safety hazard.
Consider replacing older equipment with newer versions that are built into the wall and have simple controls with large, discernible buttons and displays. It’s also helpful to look for models with automatic shut-off options to prevent accidents in the kitchen.
Options for Disabilities
If you have disabilities, there are even ADA-compliant appliances available as well. When purchasing these new appliances, it may be wise to consider a home warranty plan for extra protection in case of any damages or defects. Making sure these devices are covered for potential repairs or replacements will ensure they make your life easier as you age, not harder.
Rethink Your Stairs
Navigating stairs can be difficult as you age and your body changes. Walking up and down this feature can make you more susceptible to falls or accidents. It may become impossible if you use a wheelchair or other assistive device.
Building ramps by the exterior doorway or even inside the home can help reduce the harsh impact and strain of maneuvering stairs and can make your space more accessible.
Depending on the layout of your home, interior ramps may not be feasible. So add in handrails on both sides of the stairs to give you a better grip and stability. It’s also important to make sure areas by stairs or ramps are well lit. This way, you can see the edge of the tread which can prevent trips or falls.
Revamp Your Bathroom
Another common place for seniors to fall is the bathroom. With so many slippery surfaces, areas around the shower can become a safety hazard as you age.
When remodeling the bathroom, consider installing slip-proof flooring and using non-skid bath mats for extra protection. It’s also helpful to add grab bars in the shower and by the toilet to provide additional support and stability as you navigate the bathroom.
If you need extra assistance as you shower, install a seat or bench. This will help keep your balance and prevent falls.
Widen Your Doorways
If you use wheelchairs, walkers, or other assistive devices, mobility can be a challenge. Accessibility is a major issue in older homes. Especially as they tend to have narrow doorways which make it difficult to pass through with ease.
For those aging in place, widening the doorways is a helpful upgrade that can help you maintain independence. It can improve your quality of life as you do daily activities at home.
Even if you don’t use any assistive devices, larger entryways can give you more room. This allows you to to walk side by side with a caregiver or loved one if you need extra support.
While these home improvements may seem like a lot of money and effort, they can help keep you independent. And ensure you safely age in place. There’s nothing like the comfort of living in your own home. Making these improvements will help prevent injuries and accidents.