Many seniors these days are opting to live in their own home for as long as possible, and while it’s usually the best option, it also means making some changes to the home to ensure that everything is safe and will continue to be. These home modifications are essential for seniors who are planning on staying in their home, even if they are in good health, because they’ll make the house more accessible and prevent injury.
While many of these modifications are simple such as installing non-slip rubber mats in the bathroom, or a grab bar in the shower, others might be a bit more complicated and pricey. It’s important to do some research before making any decisions and consider all your options, which also might include downsizing to a smaller home for more efficient living.
Here are some tips on how to make aging in place work for you.
Assess your home
The first step is to go through your home and assess the needs for modifications. The kitchen and bathroom are the rooms where many senior injuries and accidents occur, so these rooms should get special attention. Make sure the countertops are at a good height and think about your future needs as well as your current ones. You or a loved one may have mobility issues down the road that will necessitate lower counters or a wider area to move around in, or you may need a bathtub that has safety features such as a grab bar, shower seat, or non-slip rubber mats. Bigger projects, such as changing countertops or removing cabinets will require a professional and perhaps even a home improvement loan. Look online to see if your state offers funding for seniors.
Think about downsizing
If the thought of making big changes to your house doesn’t appeal to you, there’s always the option to downsize. Making a move is another major life change, but it might allow you to save money and will give you less to take care of on a daily basis. Many seniors find that a home without stairs or a big backyard works much better for their needs than a large house.
Make small changes with a big impact
There are several small changes you can make to your home that will have a large impact, such as installing ramps, adding lighting to dim areas and labeling items in your kitchen for easy access. Many seniors note that vision impairment makes everyday tasks more difficult, so finding little ways to help yourself stay safe while performing daily activities will boost your confidence and give you more independence.
Change the flooring
Falls are a huge concern for most seniors, so it’s important to address any issues with flooring. If you have hardwood, laminate, or tile, each area should have non-slip or rubber-backed mats rather than throw rugs, which can trip you up. Shaggy carpeting with a deep pile should be replaced with a shorter nap.
Making home modifications or finding a more accessible home can be a big job, so it’s important to ask for help and call a pro for an opinion before making any decisions. Changing your surroundings to better suit your needs can help you stay healthy and happy for years to come.
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